The Sindh government will soon introduce a bill in the provincial assembly to register seminaries under an entirely new process.
At a meeting held on Wednesday to review the process of reforming the registration and other affairs of the seminaries in the province, law adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui said the bill would be prepared in the next 10 days.
He added that the proposed law was aimed at entirely changing the existing law for registering seminaries – which dated back to 1885.
“The home and religious affairs departments will be fully responsible for conducting the registration drive of madrasas.”
He said religious 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.
The participants of the meeting also considered issues related to Friday sermons delivered at mosques across the province.
After the National Action Plan against terrorism had come into force, a process was launched under the supervision of the provincial apex committee to conduct geo-tagging of seminaries and identifying those having links with banned outfits or unclear channels of funding from inside or outside the country.
The provincial government authorities with the help of intelligence outfits had earlier identified at least 48 madrasas in the province that links to banned organisations – half of them in Karachi alone.
At a meting held in August last year, the then IGP had told the chief minister that these seminaries were promoting terrorism and police had chalked out a plan to take action against them.
In that meeting, which was held in compliance with the decision of the apex committee, it was decided to coordinate with clerics of all schools of thought for the registration of madrasas under the amended laws in the province.
It was decided at that time that no new seminary would be established without obtaining a no-objection certificate from the deputy commissioner concerned, the home department and the Sindh Building Control Authority.
The then IGP had said there were 9,590 seminaries in the province, of which 6,503 were registered, 3,087 unregistered and 167 sealed because of illegalities of various kinds.