18 madrassahs refuse to register with Pak Government

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Islamabad, Sep.10 (ANI): At least eighteen Islamic seminaries in Islamabad have refused to register themselves with the government, claiming that they will cooperate only if they are contacted through the madrassah body, known as the Tanzeemul Madaris.

Official sources told the Dawn, that 122 madaris or religious schools have been registered with the capital's district administration.

Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad Amir Ali Khan was quoted by the paper as saying that he has directed the Auqaf department to invite representatives of those eighteen religious schools for a meeting to persuade them to register, since there is no existing law through which the government can force religious schools to do so.

The Pakistan Government's ambitious plan of bringing the seminaries within the ambit of mainstream education has hit snag due to the stubborn attitude of seminary manipulators.

The recent meeting between the officials of Punjab Auqaf and Education departments with the administrators of five umbrella organisations to sort out modalities of constitution of religious boards on the pattern of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education is yet to materialise.

The office bearers of five different religious establishments, including Tanzim-ul-Madaras (Brelvi), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Deobandi), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Shia), Wafaq-ul-Madaras (Salphia Ahle Hadith) and Rabita-ul-Madaris (Jamaat-e-Islami) are insisting that they be given the status of a secondary board to conduct exams by themselves and issue certificates/degrees equivalent to Matriculation/SSC without any government interference.

The government had offered the seminaries, hitherto, issuing their own certificates of religious education like Dars-e-Nizami, Hafiz Quran and Nazra, The Nation reports.

But it also simultaneously insists that students of these seminaries study the additional subjects like mathematics, english and Pakistan studies and appear in the respective proposed boards for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) at par with the students passing examination in the government and recognised private schools.

The government has also offered teachers" employment in accordance with government standardised scale in the three subjects along with computer labs. It has also agreed that the appointment of teachers will be made in consultation with the proposed religious boards.

The basic objective to regularise, standardise, run and cover the seminaries within the main education system by updating the religious education provided there with modern knowledge is to enable the 2.5 million students accessing the present day facts and realities.

Two months ago, the Pakistan Government told the United States that it will not close the madrassah system of education in the country.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Mohammad Ejazul Haq said, "most madrassahs had nothing to do with terrorism". Rather they were doing a doing a great social service by providing free education to more than 1.5 million students in Pakistan.

"Teaching 1.5 million students costs as much as Rs. 127 billion a year, raised by madrassahs from ordinary people. If the government was given this task, it would have failed after wasting millions of dollars but the madrassahs are doing this service without seeking any help from the government," Haq said.

He however, said the federal government had a comprehensive plan to reform the madrassah system in the country and bring them at par with mainstream schools. (ANI)

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