ISLAMABAD: The government has started the registration of religious seminaries and for this purpose it has appointed officers of Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) in 16 regional offices of the Directorate General of Religious Education (DGRE).
In this regard, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, which stated that the posting or transfer of officers from BECS and NCHD has been made on attachment basis to operationalise the DGRE and its 16 regional offices all over the country with immediate effect.
“The officers are directed to report their respective place of posting with immediate effect,” the notification stated.
All officers of the BECS and the NCHD have been posted as directors while the new directorate [DGRE] has been established in Islamabad’s G-8 Sector and regional offices have been established in Rawalpindi (office in Islamabad), Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan (DIK), Swat, Quetta, Khuzdar, Loralai, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Gilgit, and Skardu.
According to sources in the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, the government has allocated Rs580 million for DGRE and its 16 regional offices. They said that the government will soon announce a deadline for the registration of seminaries with the DGRE. The seminaries found to be promoting hatred and sectarianism will not to be allowed to operate, sources added.
The sources also said that the Education Ministry would also help seminary students appear for examinations in compulsory subjects which would be conducted by the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE), Islamabad, so that they could also get a chance to compete with the students of other schools and colleges.
It is pertinent to mention here that the government has already approved ‘Deeni Madaris Reforms’ to streamline religious seminaries and keep a check on their finances in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) objectives.
Under the approved reforms, all the seminaries have to register themselves with the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the ministry is mandated to facilitate the said seminaries in the opening of bank accounts at the designated branches.
If the seminaries fail to comply with the terms of conditions of the ministry, their registration will be cancelled and if they fail to register with the ministry, they will be sealed.
The registered seminaries will be allowed to enroll foreign students and the Education Ministry will facilitate them in obtaining Pakistani visas for a maximum period of nine years in line with prevalent rules and regulations.
According to documents, the federal cabinet had considered the summary titled ‘Deeni Madaris Reforms’ dated September 1, 2019, submitted by the Education Ministry and approved it in principle. The interior ministry opposed the reforms; however, the cabinet gave go-ahead on a condition that the ministry would also take all stakeholders on board.
The incumbent government had earlier tasked Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training to introduce ‘Deeni Madaris Reforms’. In order to develop consensus, the ministry had held a number of meetings with the representatives of Ittehad Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP) under the chairmanship of federal minister for federal education and professional training.
After detailed deliberations on the objectives and issues of reformation of seminaries, a final agreement was unanimously signed on August 29, 2019.