PESHAWAR: It seems the government has finally decided that unregistered seminaries and mosque schools will not be tolerated anymore. As many as 703 such institutions located in the tribal heartland and frontier regions will soon be blacklisted, insiders told The Express Tribune.
Ever since Punjab home minister Shuja Khanzada was killed in a suicide blast in Attock, the government has received a lot of flak over its inability to clamp down on hubs of militancy and radicalisation.
A FATA Secretariat official, who requested anonymity, said strict action has been planned against seminaries involved in encouraging students to take up arms in the name of religion. In this regard, the available data about all unregistered seminaries is being updated and action will soon be taken. “The data is being collected from both the FRs and tribal areas.”
“The operation will be extended to FR Lakki Marwat, FR Bannu, FR Peshawar, FR DI Khan, FR Kohat and FR Tank,” he added.
When contacted, FATA Secretariat Spokesperson Fazlullah neither confirmed nor denied the report. “So far, we have no official information from the interior ministry therefore I cannot confirm or deny it,” he said.
According to FATA Directorate of Education statistics, an alarming 50%, 204 out of the 409, of the seminaries in the tribal belt are not registered with the government.
When contacted, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Mufti Kifayatullah said his party never encourages militancy and will cooperate with the government in its elimination. He said seminaries in the tribal areas are not established institutions.
“A cleric gathers a few children and starts to teach them religion and it gets called as a seminary.” He said majority of these clerics are unaware of the registration process and its importance.
He said around 18,000 seminaries function under the umbrella of Wifaqul Madaris Alarabia Pakistan where around 2.2 million children receive religious education. “I want the government to take the forum on board before taking action against unregistered seminaries,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015.