Despite spending millions from the public exchequer, only nine meetings of the Pakistan Madrasah Education Board (PMEB) have been held since the establishment of the body in 2001 to establish model Islamic seminaries in the country and have other seminaries affiliated with it.
Official documents available with Pakistan Today disclose that the PMEB has been unable to achieve its main purpose and has only established three seminaries in Islamabad, Karachi, and Sukkur despite the lapse of 16 years.
The board’s targets of conducting technical skill courses, establishing libraries in Islamic seminaries, formulating a curriculum for all the seminaries along with an examination system, and conducting teacher training programs, have not been achieved as the board never became functional.
Six meetings were held from 2001 to 2004, followed by an 11 year gap in which none were held. The last three meetings have taken place in the last three years.
The documents further show that ten chairmen have been appointed since the establishment of the PMEB. Out of the ten, only three were appointed on a permanent basis. These chairmen received more than Rs 13 million in salary and various allowances, whereas the total budget of the PMEB from 2015-2017 was Rs 53 million.
PMEB Chairman Dr M Aamir Tuaseen in an inquiry report against corruption in a seminary said that money had been embezzled from the board’s zakat fund. He said that the seminary principal was involved in the corruption.
The Senate’s standing committee on religious affairs and inter-faith harmony on Friday directed the ministry of religious affairs to hand over the investigation to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and suspend the principal from his job.
The Pakistan Madrasah Education Board was established in 2001 in pursuance of the madrasah reform policy. The government endeavoured to establish its own board to compete with the existing five Wafaqs and Tanzeemat with which 95% of the seminaries are affiliated. However, the government effort could not materialise in view of the fact that the Wafaqs and Tanzeemat, who were to nominate their representative for the board, refused to adopt the government’s initiative and did not nominate their members.