PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to allocate an additional amount of Rs275 million for the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Nowshera district during the current fiscal.

The allocation is in addition to Rs300 million allocated to the seminary in 2016 and already disbursed, taking the total amount to over Rs557.59 million.

Sources told Dawn that Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had ordered the relevant authorities to revise the relevant PC-1 and put up a summary to him for the approval of additional allocations for the seminary.

Darul Uloom Haqqania got Rs300m in 2016

They said the Auqaf and religious affairs department moved the sought-after summary to the chief minister, who was likely to approve it in a couple of days.

The details available with Dawn show that the allocation of Rs300 million to the seminary was reflected in the 2017-18 budget under the ADP number 50/160607 as a whole block provision.

They however note, “now, it is being revised on the wish of the client (seminary) and department so that block price will exceed to Rs557.59 million by adding the additional work of construction of a hostel, remaining work on the Maulana Abdul Haq mosque and external development works’.

The document said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had visited the site and issued instruction to revise the estimate by additional work i.e. the construction of a hostel and completion of work on a mosque named after seminary founder Maulana Abdul Haq on the premises.

The funding of the seminary had stoked a controversy in 2016. However, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s chief, Imran Khan, had defended it saying the allocation was part of the move to mainstream seminaries in the province and that the seminary’s management was ready to undertake reforms.

The white papers for financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18 prepared by the finance department paint a rather curious picture of the provincial government’s largesse towards the seminary.

The 2017-18 White Paper shows that the provincial government has allocated Rs620 million for a total of 20 projects of which 12 are ongoing with an allocation of Rs513.195 million, while eight new projects have received allocation of Rs106.805 million.

This amount was to be spent on land for the religious minorities’ graveyards and shamshan ghats (cremation grounds) along with the construction of boundary walls across the province, construction of worship places for minorities in the province, welfare package for minorities in the province and solarisation of mosques across the province.

Curiously, the current Rs275 million allocation for Haqqania seminary accounts for nearly half of the total allocation of Rs620 million, while 10 ongoing and a new project for minorities across the province have been allocated Rs185 million.

Rest of the mosques, seminaries and graveyards for Muslims across the province have received a paltry allocation of Rs146.5 million.

In the financial year 2016-17, the government had allocated Rs366 million for 18 development projects, including 10 ongoing ones with Rs115.15 million allocation and eight new with Rs250.850 million.

Interestingly, the Auqaf department’s ADP allocations in the previous and current fiscals total Rs986 million. Of them, the Haqqania seminary received a lion’s share of Rs556 million i.e. 56 per cent.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2018