ISLAMABAD: Amid criticism of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s funding to Maulana Samiul Haq’s Darul Uloom Haqqania, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has claimed that no cash transaction was involved and the seminary was being assisted only in building infrastructure.
Talking to Dawn after a meeting between Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and PTI chairman Imran Khan here on Monday, party’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the infrastructure development was being carried out by the provincial communications and works department and no funds had been given directly to Darul Uloom Haqqania.
Mr Chaudhry termed the criticism in some political and media circles “unjustified”. He said the funds had been allocated by the KP government to provide assistance to the religious seminaries as part of its policy to mainstream madrasahs.
“We have already spent some Rs270 million on construction of various buildings and establishment of computer labs in the seminaries, being run under the control of Darul Uloom Haqqania,” he said, explaining that the funds were not being spent on just one seminary as there was a chain of seminaries functioning under Darul Uloom Haqqania.
KP chief minister briefs Imran on steps for mainstreaming seminaries
Darul Uloom Haqqania is headed by Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.
The PTI information secretary said that the administration of Darul Uloom Haqqania wanted to construct a complex for which it had demanded an additional amount of Rs300m.
He admitted that Imran Khan should have clarified all these points during his Sunday’s news conference instead of only defending the KP government’s act when a journalist had put a question in this regard.
Mr Chaudhry further said the KP government had offered all the seminaries functioning in KP to adopt the curriculum developed by the Elementary Secondary Education Department and the examination system under the department to receive financial assistance. He claimed that Darul Uloom Haqqania was the first seminary which had accepted this offer.
Earlier in the day, according to a handout issued by the party’s central media department, Chief Minister Khattak briefed the PTI chairman on the measures taken by his government to mainstream madrasahs in the province. He also informed Mr Khan “about the funds being issued to Darul Uloom Haqqania”.
Speaking on the occasion, Imran Khan said that more than 2.5 million children were studying in different madrasahs. He said the funds and support would help the seminary students assimilate in society, bring them to the mainstream and keep them away from radicalisation.
Lauding the KP government, he said that progressive reforms were being implemented by the provincial government to better integrate seminary students into the mainstream.
Mr Khattak said the KP government had provided comprehensive support to Jamia Haqqania for the development of infrastructure.
Use of helicopter
Meanwhile, the KP chief minister submitted a reply to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the issue of alleged misuse of official helicopter of the provincial government.
In his reply, he claimed that the helicopter had been used for 39 trips in which ministers/advisers had also accompanied Imran Khan. He said the chopper had been used for only 72 flying hours against fuel charges of Rs2.1m in four-and-a-half years.
He welcomed the NAB’s inquiry and said he would fully cooperate with the bureau.
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018