CTD chief says seminaries classified into three categories – anti-state elements,facilitators or symphathisers, and benign
Sindh’s top anti-terrorism cop said on Sunday that the police’s Special Branch had completed the geo-tagging of madrasas across the province and a committee was drafting amendments for their reforms.
“All madrasas, whether registered or not, have been geo-tagged. The officials of the Special Branch and other members of the committee have physically conducted the survey, and ensured that none of the madrasas are missed, whether they are located in congested, narrow lanes of Karachi or the remote areas of other parts of the province,” additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi told The News.
“It is a continuous process which needs to be monitored and supervised because time to time some changes come up like the construction of a new madrasa. However, all madrasas presently existing throughout Sindh have been geo-tagged.”
The official said there some seminaries that existed on paper only and a letter had been written to the department concerned for their cancellation.
He appreciated the work conduct by his team for successfully completing the process.
The survey was conducted in each district in accordance with the police’s regional divisions.
In the police’s Sukkur Range, the survey was conducted in the districts of Sukkur, Naushehro Feroze, Khairpur, and Ghotki. The Mirpurkhas Range includes Mirpurkhas, Mithi, Umerkot, and Sanghar districts.
The Hyderabad Range comprises Hyderabad, Dadu, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Jamshoro, TM Khan, Shaheed Benazirabad (formerly Nawabshah), Matiari and Tando Allahyar.
Larkana, Qamber-Shadadkot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, and Kashmore fall in the Larkana Range.
The Karachi Range comprises the whole of the city
Abbasi said there were 3,110 madrasas in Karachi, and the coordinates of all of them acquired.
In Hyderabad Range, there were 2,201 madrassas, the coordinates of 1,291 were received, 910 were found to be closed and the rest were geo-tagged.
In Mirpurkhas Range, 986 seminaries were present, 705 coordinates were received and geo-tagged while 281 were closed.
In Sukkur Range, there were 1,956 madrasas, 1,536 coordinates were received and they were geo-tagged while 420 were found to be closed.
In Larakana Range 1,112 madrasas were present, 1,037 coordinates were received and 75 were found to be closed.
Persuaded to cooperate
The official said his team had initially faced resistance while conducting the survey but later the managements of the seminaries were persuaded into cooperating.
“We carried it out [the geo-tagging process] both covertly and overtly and now we are classifying the seminaries into three categories, anti-state elements, facilitators or symphathisers, and normal (benign),” he said.
“After classifying madrasas into these categories, a thorough probe action will be conducted and action taken appropriately.”
The CTD chief said people who were on the 4th schedule, anti-social elements, those with a history of terrorism or delivering hate speeches, or were nominated in FIRs were on our watch-list now.
The official said madrasas had been detected that were involved in promoting extremism and he had formed joint teams of CTD and Special Branch personnel to probe into these cases.
Besides, he added raids were conducted earlier at mosques and madrasas promoting extremism and distributing hate literature and those running them were arrested.
“Our main concern is that mosques and madrasas are being used as meeting points, where planning takes place or extremist agenda is spread. Many suspects arrested in different raids have disclosed this.”
On madrasa reforms, the CTD chief the provincial government had formed a committee, headed by the law minister, for drafting a law for this purpose.
“The first meeting of the committee has been held and the draft will be submitted soon.”
The recommended reforms include making it compulsory to obtain a no-objection certificate from the home department and the Special Branch for building a madrasa. Details of its funding, faculty and admissions will have to be submitted.
The registration of a madrasa will be cancelled if any of the conditions were violated.
A few days ago, a meeting was held to review the process of reforming the registration and other affairs of the seminaries in the province, wherein law adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui had said the bill for this purpose would be prepared in the next 10 days.
The proposed law is aimed at entirely changing the existing law for registering seminaries – which dates back to 1885.
The home and religious affairs departments will be fully responsible for conducting the registration drive of madrasas.
Seminaries already registered with the government would have to be registered again under the new law.
The special assistant to the chief minister on religious affairs, Abdul Qayoom Soomro, who was presiding over
the meeting, said clerics and religious scholars should be consulted before tabling the bill.
He added that the proposed law was aimed at confining the activities of madrasas to imparting education only.