Nisar wants more scrutiny of seminaries


Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has expressed strong displeasure over the slack pace of seminaries’ registration and scrutiny across the country.

The minister directed top officials of the Interior Ministry to cooperate and coordinate with the security brass to expedite the process.

Responsible sources in the Interior Ministry, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that in a daylong interaction on Friday that the government received concrete evidence that some seminaries were directly linked to promoting terrorism across the country.

The government would take the Wafaq-ul-Madaris into confidence and then give a go ahead to security agencies to take action against them. The ongoing process of Madrassas reforms would be finalised within 60 days, a top official said.

He said that registration of madrassas was part of the National Action Plan (NAP) and religious leaders had no objection to it. However, some institutions have shown reservations over the legal regularity of the Madrassas system under new rules and said that the consensus of federal government, Wafaq-ul-Madaris, and provinces was necessary to achieve this objective.

He said under NAP, the federal and provincials governments had completed data collection for Madrassas operating in the country.

The ministry also finalised a list of foreign funding that is going into madrassas. The official said a meeting would be arranged between Wafaq-ul-Madaris and representatives from the State Bank of Pakistan to scrutinise bank accounts that belong to seminaries to make their funding transparent. After opening of bank accounts they would be bound to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for foreign funding, he said and added that seminaries were also willing to open their accounts and avoid funding from anti-state elements.

The official said it has been established through the information’s collected by the secret agencies and Law Enforcing Agencies (LEAs) that the funding of the violence and terrorism has deep roots in some foreign funded seminaries.  He said that the registration of seminaries with the Madrassas Boards, deliberation upon curriculum, exam system, syllabus, grading system, teachers’ qualification, textbooks and monitoring of regular education in seminaries was also compulsory.

The Interior Ministry official said that the provincial governments had given its input to the federal government, which has worked out a comprehensive registration form.

“It’s important to secure the future of madrassas’ students and get this system mainstreamed for the betterment of education in Pakistan,” the source commented.

He said registration of madrassas to boards, deliberation upon curriculum, exam system, syllabus, grading system, teachers’ qualification, textbooks and monitoring of regular education in madrassas were also be implementing within set time.

Equivalence certificates from IBCC (Inter Board Chairman Committee) for matriculations and intermediate levels and equivalence degrees/certificates for graduation and post graduation levels from HEC were also issued to all seminaries students, he said.

The source said two committees have been already formed to finalise the details of these reforms, and will present them for implementation as soon as possible.  One committee, headed by Chairman Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, has been assigned to finalise reforms’ details.

The members of committee include Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, Mufti Hanif Jalandhri and Deputy Secretary Education. The committee has been assigned the task of suggesting measures for equalisation of certificates from seminaries.

The second committee headed by Executive Director   Higher Education Commission and comprising Director General Accreditation  HEC, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman and Muhammad Hanif Jalandhri will contemplate including English, Mathematics and  some other optional subjects in the curricula of seminaries.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had already announced a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) after creating national consensus to eliminate the menace of extremism and terrorism from the country.