Directorate being set up to regulate seminaries

Updated October 22, 2019

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The ministry has made it clear that after a certain period, unregistered seminaries would not be allowed to operate. — AP/File
The ministry has made it clear that after a certain period, unregistered seminaries would not be allowed to operate. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training has completed its homework to open a directorate under which seminaries would be registered and facilitated.

Sources said the project was almost complete, and in the next few days, the ministry would notify the establishment of the Directorate General of Religious Education. It will be set up in the Basic Education Community School (BECS) building in G-8 and will have regional offices in 16 cities.

The education ministry’s joint education adviser, Rafiq Tahir, is likely to be made the head of the directorate.

According to sources, services of dozens of employees from BECS and National Commission of Human Development have been hired to run the directorate and its regional offices.

“Yes, we have almost completed our work and soon a special designated directorate will be notified to deal with seminaries,” said Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood.

Services of employees from BECS, National Commission of Human Development have been hired to run the directorate and its regional offices

He said it was a landmark achievement as for the first time in the country’s history a special directorate under the federal government was going to be established.

Speaking to Dawn, Mr Mahmood said the directorate would help seminaries get registered and it would also work as a facilitation centre for them. He said seminary students would also be imparted contemporary education and would appear in exams held under the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.

He said religious scholars associated with Ittehad Tanzeemat-i-Madaris, an umbrella organisation of seminaries, had already announced their support to the directorate.

After holding a series of meetings with the ministry officials, Ittehad Tanzeemat-i-Madaris representatives have agreed to get all seminaries affiliated with them registered with the education ministry. They will not be allowed to promote hatred and sectarianism, the representatives said.

Religious scholars from various schools of thought who attended the meetings regularly included Mufti Mohammad Rafi Usmani (Mufti-i-Azam Pakistan and vice president Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia) Mufti Muneebur Rehman (Tanzeemul Madaris Ahle Sunnat Pakistan president), Maulana Hanif Jalandhari (Nazim-i-Aala, Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia), Maulana Mohammad Yasin Zafar (general secretary Wafaqul Madaris Al-Salfia), Allama Syed Qazi Niaz Hasan Naqvi (vice president Wafaqul Madaris Al-Shia) Dr Attaur Rehman (general secretary Rabtaul Madarasul Islamia) and Maulana Mohammad Afzal Haidri (general secretary Wafaqul Madaris Al Shia Pakistan) attended the meeting.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also runs a large number of seminaries, was not part of the agreement as his party did not attend the meetings. However, the ministry has made it clear that after a certain period, unregistered seminaries would not be allowed to operate.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019