‘Why is Sindh govt not disclosing names of madrasas with terror links?’

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By Zia Ur Rehman

After the Sindh government’s recent revelations about a number of madrasas in Sindh having solid connections with proscribed militant groups, different representative bodies for madrasas have come out strongly against what they term ‘a shot in the dark’ by the provincial government. In a two-day long, high-level meeting of the Wifaq Ul Madaris Al-Arabia (WMAA), a representative board of madrasas of the Deobandi school of thought, that concluded on Wednesday, speakers expressed concerns over the Sindh government’s recent actions against madrasas operational in the province and termed such efforts an ‘intrusion’ into their affairs.

The meeting, headed by Maulana Saleemullah Khan, president of the WMAA, was held at Jamia Darul Uloom Karachi and Maulana Hanif Jalandarhi, Mufti Muhamam Rafi Usmani, Mufti Taqi Usmani, Dr Abdul Razzaq Sikandar, Mufti Muhamamd Naeem Hakeem Mazhar were among the participants.

“The elements that are spreading negative propaganda against madrasas are the enemies of Pakistan,” read a joint statement issued after the meeting.

“The Sindh government neither took the seminaries’ leaders into confidence over legal amendments nor before taking a decision to put seminaries on a watch list.”

Similarly, interviews with several religious clerics who attended the meeting suggest that its participants expressed some serious concerns over the Sindh government’s actions.

The uproar from religious elements comes in the wake of the October 25 meeting of the Sindh Cabinet, in which a discussion was regarding 93 operational madrasas having been found with connections to banned militant outfits.

In the meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had directed the provincial home department to place all 93 madrasas involved in dubious activities on a watch list and maintain a record of their day-to-day activities.

However, one of the WMAA meeting participants, an administrator of a madrasa in District West, raised questions over the veracity of the Sindh government’s claims. “Why is the Sindh government not disclosing the names of the madrasas that they think have links with militant outfits?”

He said that the board of religious seminaries had asked provincial government authorities to disclose the names of these madrasas and to act against them in full earnest. “If they tell us, the madrasa boards will also suspend the memberships of all those found guilty of working with banned outfits,” he said.

“Instead of taking us into the loop, the Sindh government is just generating baseless progandga against seminaries, just to appease their western donors.”

WMAA regional offices:  In the meeting of the WMAA, it was decided that the body’s central office would soon be relocated from Multan to Islamabad, and four provincial offices would be established.

Mufti Muhamamd Naeem, principal of Jamia Binoria Al-Alamia, said the provincial offices would not only help to resolve the issues the seminaries were facing, but would also prove vital in countering the negative propaganda being generated against them.COURTESY The News

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