Thousands religious seminaries unregistered in KP: Officials
PESHAWAR: One will wonder to know that religious seminaries are registered with Industries Department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. And, will be surprised enough after knowing another fact that these seminaries are registered under Societies Registration Act-1860. However, above all odds, registration of fresh religious seminaries has been an uphill task now in KP.
To crack down on terrorism, the then government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formulated a 20-point National Action Plan after the tragic incident of Army Public School Peshawar in December 2014 killing around 148 persons, mostly students.
In the NAP, points 10 made it compulsory for federal and provincial governments to register, regulate and know about fund sources of Deeni Madaris, which is being considered to restrict mushroom growth of such Madaris and have a tight nose over their activities, an official of Industry Department Nasir Rehman told The News Eye.
Sharing details, he informed that “at present, we have a total of 4500 registered Madaris. Yes, it is true the KP Industries Department is responsible for the registrations of religious seminaries,”.
He was of the view that it is also a fact that “Number of un-registered Madaris is more than registered ones,”.
When asked about how many Madaris have so far been closed in KP for not meeting set requirements, “We, don’t know about it, because, this duty is performed by KP Home Department. I will say, Deeni Madaris are being handled by about three different departments, industry department is responsible for registration, religious department for syllabus, and home department has to check source of funding and monitoring”.
Instead of industries department, it would be better to hand-over this responsibility of registering Madaris either to KP Education or Religious Affairs Department, Mr. Rehman wished and informed that at a recent meeting, his idea has formally been discussed with the top officials of federal and provincial governments.
Surprisingly, KP Industries Department Assistant Director Mujahid said that Deeni Mardaris are being registered under an out-dated Societies Registration Act-1860, which does not meet present day requirements, because, the act is only restricted to registration process. “We can say it is a verbal act,”.
Because, “It doesn’t mention about monitoring, verification, syllabus, regulation and source of funding of a seminary” But, under the NAP, it is now prerequisite to have all such information on record,” he explained.
“One thing more, I will share which is that after the APS incident, it is now an uphill task to register a Deeni Madrasa’ because, it has to pass on through a proper process, which was lacking in the past,” he remarked.
And that’s why at present “Over 700 registration applications are pending with us” Mujahid said adding that in the act there is no police verification, now it is compulsory. The act does not say registration for concerned district administration, but now one will have to do it for registering his or her Madrasa.
Talking to The News Eye, ex-MNA Maulana Hamidul Haq, son of Maulana Sami-ul Haq, the naib patron in chief of Darul Uloomi Haqqania, district Nowshera said that “We have no objection on registration, monitoring, syllabus and audit of funds of any Deeni Madrasa,”.
“The audit of our worldwide famous Darul Uloomi Haqqania is being carried out regularly. There is no difference over Madaris registration, because this is being done under the NAP, after taking Wafaqul Madaris into confidence,” he was of the view.
In the same breath, he added that “If there is any confrontation over registration and regulations or any other issue, it should be resolved politely,” Hamidul Haq, who also teaches to senior students at Haqqania told The News Eye. “We are also in favour of mainstreaming seminaries,”.
“We have over 5000 students presently getting religious education at Haqqania,” About funding for his Madrasa, he claimed that “People give us donations from across the country,”. He said that they don’t need to hide donations given to Haqqania. Everything is crystal clear to all.
When asked about Rs.300million recently donated by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak to Darul Uloomi Haqqania, was it for reforms or for political gains, “Don’t link that amount with reforms or political purpose, but it was actually for constructing more rooms and up-gradation of Haqqania School from middle to high school. The school is situated on premises of Darul Uloomi Haqqania, had been established in 1936,”. Haqqania had received only Rs30million of the CM approved Rs300million so far, he disclosed.
The reforms should be implemented where it is necessary, at Haqqania they have been providing computer education, teach Maths, Physic, Bio and other contemporary subjects alongside with religious books, Hamidul Haq, who is also central office bearer of Jamiat Ulamia Islam (Sami Group) explained.
Affiliated with JU-F, Maulana Saqeed-ur-Rehman, who runs the affairs of religious seminaries in remote area of district Mardan told The News Eye that “We keep and maintain proper record of each and everything which is about our Madrasa”. Regulation and having records of each Madrasa, I see no harm in it, he added. Initially, raids were conducted on Madaris, but now the situation is normal, he said.
After Industry Department, Home Department has also a leading role in regulation, monitoring, funding verification matters of seminaries in the province. However, it will surprise many that the KP Home Department had not mentioned a single word about Deemi Madaris in its annual report recently published.
However, a high profile official in the Home Department on condition of anonymity said that after the NAP, each Madrasa is responsible to maintain registration book, not to have basement and no foreign student. Besides, Industry Department has been strictly restricted not to issue registration certificate to a seminar until have a complete verification from police, special branch, secrete agencies, and concerned district administration.
“I will say there is no ban on Madaris registration in KP” he said. First ban on Deeni Madaris registration had been imposed in 1987 by the then dictator Ziaul Haq and interestingly, it was again another dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf who lifted the ban on August 16, 2005.
About unregistered seminaries, he said truly, there are unregistered Madaris. But they have not accurate figures. The official informed that, he lacks accurate data, but reportedly a total of 182 Madaris have been closed since the NAP came, of which 13 in KP, two in Punjab and 167 in Sindh province.
When this scribe contacted an official at Provincial Religious Affairs Department, he said that “first of all, registration of religious seminaries should be taken from Industry Department and be handed over to Religious Affairs Department”.
I know the Industry Department uses the old manual system rather than applying modern tools, which is also a problem in the process. He proposed to establish Madaris boards at provincial level to monitor the activities of Madaris.
This is not the first time that attempts are being made to introduce Madrasa reforms. Last time, this issue surfaced after 9/11, however, it proved a futile exercise due to differences between the government and the religious parties. If government schools, colleges and university accept reforms and go with modern ways, why shouldn’t curriculum reform be introduced in religious seminaries, the officials was of the view.