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No government able to enforce Madrassah Reforms

With around 30,000 madrassas in the country, only 295 are in process for registration. Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood is optimistic about the registration process despite the hurdles created by the religious segments, now and in the past.

“Things take time; they (seminaries) have given us assurance in writing, therefore, registration will be done and we will get it done.”

During an interview to a local newspaper, the Education Minister said.

In spite of Madressah reforms being initiated in 2003, none of the governments have been able to enforce them or streamline their affairs. There is no data on their sources of funding or the students enrolled. With a madrassah at every corner of the street, the government still is handicapped to check the uncontrolled madrassah construction on government or private encroached land.

In opposition to the endorsement of the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Act, 2020, clerics and seminary students staged a protest outside the National Press Club on Tuesday.

The speakers openly denounced the registration process and hinted at continue boycotting. Moreover, they said that not only the law was a move to violate their integrity, but the Waqf Act was un-Islamic with a hidden agenda to the ideological status of the country.

Directed by a senior member of one of the seminary boards, the clerics have even formed a group called, Tehreek-i-Tahaffuz-i-Masajid-o-Madaris Islamabad.

According to the speakers, the authorities pledged to amend the Waqf Properties Act and in failure to do so, there would be no registration of the seminaries.

In Lahore, a meeting of the top leadership of the five mainstream seminary boards was held under Ittehad-i-Tanzeemat Madaris Pakistan which submitted suggestions to the government on the matter.

“We have observed that the government has not finalized the roadmap for registration of madrassahs, therefore, we will present our suggestions to expedite the process.”

Wafaqul Madaris Al Shia General Secretary Allama Afzaal Haidari said.

Another meeting with the education minister was expected soon.

“The idea to register madrassahs was initiated in Gen Ayub Khan’s era when the Auqaf departments were formed, but the clerics established these five boards and claimed that all seminaries were managed by them.”

A senior official of the education ministry said.

According to an estimate, around 30,000 seminaries exist across the country. But since August 2019, only 1,957 forms had been disseminated, 295 submitted with the Directorate General of Religious Education (DGRE), Ministry of Education and only 140 seminaries have been registered in the country.

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