Pakistan News

Govt, clerics resume talks on madressah registration

Govt, clerics resume talks on madressah registration

ISLAMABAD: After over three months, religious seminaries and the government have resumed negotiations to streamline the registration and documentation of madressahs across the country.

The representatives of five main madressah boards held talks with the minister for religious affairs, Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, on Thursday night and decided to restart the negotiations on the madressah registration process.

With flexibilities shown on both the sides, the government agreed to take back the new registration form designed in March 2015 and replace it with the registration form approved in 2005.

“We wanted the government to take back the six-page registration form as it contained unnecessary requirements,” said Nusrat Ali, a spokesman for Wafaqal Madaris al Shia, adding, “However, the government can add clauses to the two-page 2005 registration form which are suitable under current circumstances such as the status of land at which a seminary is built.”

It was also decided that the government would design a new ‘data’ form to be filled by the seminaries annually or biannually that will contain the operational details of the institutions, including the sources of funding, names of the students etc.

The talks were suspended in May after Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed stated at a function in Karachi that religious seminaries had become centres of illiteracy and controversies. Soon afterward, key clerics belonging to the five seminary boards refused to sit with the government, saying the information minister had insulted the clerics and seminaries.

On March 13, the government had forwarded the new madressah registration form to the five Wafaqul Madaris but a majority of them did not make any decision on either to accept or reject it.

The five Wafaq are Waqaful Madaris al Arabia (Deobandi), Tanzeemul Madaris Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (Barelvi), Wafaqul Madaris al Shia, Wafaqul Madaris al Salfia (Ahle Hadith) and Rabtatul Madarisul Islamia seminaries affiliated with Jamaat-i-Islami.

A senior officer of the capital territory administration had told Dawn on May 12 that the seminaries were trying to buy time and delaying the registration process as it would eventually place them under the eyes of the authorities.

Talking to Dawn on Friday, the officer reiterated his earlier words and said the recent round of security checks in the seminaries across the country and in Islamabad had forced the five Wafaq to return to the negotiating table.

“We have also suggested that there has to be a uniform data form across the country and the one designed by the federal government may be accepted by the provinces too as it would streamline the whole procedure,” said Maulana Abdul Quddus, a spokesman for Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held after Eidul Azha as both the clerics and the officials would be busy with Haj engagements from the next week.

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2015

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