The Seminary question


No stones unturned?

The matter of Pervez Rashid’s remarks about certain madrassas has deteriorated only because the government did not back the minister firmly and failed to take timely action against suspect seminaries. That a police team was ‘roughed up’ by madrassa students while apprehending men setting up banners calling for Rashid’s execution speaks volumes not only about the Police’s ineffectiveness, but rather the entire National Action Plan (NAP) and the overall counterinsurgency campaign. Analysts, opposition members and civil society advocates feared just such a situation when they faulted the government for not moving against the seminaries immediately after the Peshawar incident.

It seems few people in Islamabad have long memories. But those that do will remember how the interior minister promised stern action against any seminary found involved in foul play. And people took his word at face value when he promised to leave no stones unturned in this effort. However, considering the present state of NAP, and the government’s reluctance to confront madrassas at any point since Peshawar, it is pretty clear that the momentum is now lost. And it doesn’t put security agencies in very good light when police officers are quoted in the press, anonymously of course, questioning the high command’s willingness to confront banned groups.

When Rashid finally questioned the legitimacy of some of these seminaries, and was subsequently viciously attacked by the religious lobby, Nawaz Sharif was called upon to defend his information minister vigorously. But in not putting the government’s weight behind a very important issue, the prime minister has made the situation more risky. Circumstances before former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination were not very different. Back then, too, the government remained week-kneed. But the shameful result seemingly failed to teach the right lessons. The more the seminaries, and their backers, wrongly play the religious card to defend their position, the more the risk to Pervez Rashid’s life will increase. It is now up to his superiors in government, who bravely promised caging elements that promote militancy in the garb of religion, to make their presence felt for once.


  1. If any seminari is involved in terrorism the govt should take action against it. But there is no point ridiculing the whole religious education system. It would only create furthur divide in the society. PM took the wise decision of not backing a useless rhetoric of Pervez Rashid.

  2. The writer is just a stupid person knowing nothing about Madrassa or its education system.

  3. Speaking the truth can be dangerous in Pakistan…and the enemy who might attack you is Religious people?…what kind of society has to fear murder by religious fanatics?…there needs to be a big clamp down on radicals who use their religion to threaten government officials…don't let the fanatics rule your country…

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