ISLAMABAD: Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia, the board of seminaries belonging to the Deobandi school of thought, has decided to keep Jamia Hafsa Islamabad delisted, rejecting its fresh application for the enrollment of the students.

Jamia Hafsa is affiliated with Lal Masjid, and its principal is Ume Hasaan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz, the administrator of the seminary.

The seminary was struck off from the board’s list in 2007 after protests and political activities by its students.

A letter written by the board on March 30 stated that the executive council of Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia Pakistan discussed Jamia Hafsa’s application and decided to keep it off the list.

“The registration of Jamia Hafsa will continue to be suspended and the registration forms forwarded by the female students are being returned along with the fee,” the letter added.

Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia oversees the examinations and other educational matters of the seminaries affiliated with it.

The management of Lal Masjid criticised the board’s decision. “They kept the forms with them and now when the exams are nearing, they have returned it,” said a cleric affiliated with the managerial matters of Lal Masjid. “Wafaq should have given the reasons for the continued delisting of the seminary,” he said.

Lal Masjid accuses Wafaq of being biased

Usually, Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia conducts exams in the last week of Rajab that is around the first week of May, and like the previous years, students of Jamia Hafsa will continue filing their forms using the name of other seminaries.

Jamia Hafsa Shuhada Foundation also rebuked the decision of Wafaq for not registering the female seminary of Islamabad, adding Wafaq was playing dirty politics.

“We are the largest female seminary in the region or possibly in the country. Besides, we have 30 branches of Jamia Hafsa in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, including Bahria Town Rawalpindi, G-7 Islamabad (Jamia Sumaya), two in Bhara Kahu and one in H-11,” said Hafiz Ehtesham Ahmed of the Shuhada Foundation.

He said there were around 4,000 students affiliated with Jamia Hafsa and around 1,500 of them had filed their registration forms with the Wafaq.

In a statement, the Shuhada Foundation said Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia was biased towards Jamia Hafsa.

“Wafaq has no objections if Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) uses Maderssah students for its political activities,” the statement said. “But if our students get involved in similar activities, we are discriminated against.”

He said the affiliation and registration of Jamia Fareedia, the seminary for male students in Sector E-7, too was cancelled by the Wafaq on the same grounds in 2007. However, it was restored the same year because its administrator, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor, belongs to the JUI-F, Hafiz Ehtesham added.

On the other hand, a senior office-bearer of Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia said the management of Jamia Hafsa was still not setting a good example for the seminaries.

“It is a very touching issue,” the official said, requesting not to be named, “We want the students to study and set an example as good citizens and should not be involved in agitation or aggressive activities.”

The official said Wafaq was responsible for the conduct of seminaries, especially after the enactment of the National Action Plan (NAP) as there were pressures to streamline the affairs of the seminaries.

There are five mainstream wafaq or madressah boards in the country, one each for the Barelvi, Shia, Deobandi and Ahle Hadith schools of thought while the fifth Wafaq belongs to seminaries managed by Jamaat-i-Islami.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2016



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