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Millions for madarsas
- Pakistan reform plan

Islamabad, June 9: Pakistan plans to spend $16 million in the new financial year, beginning July 1, on madarsas to improve their standards and bring them on a par with the national education grid.

One of the undeclared objectives of the reforms, launched in 2002 with an estimated cost of $96 million, is to purge the madarsas of militant teachings that many western countries say have been the source of terrorism both in Pakistan and Afghanistan

The process involved registration of roughly 10,000 madarsas with the government, mostly in the North-West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, where thousands of Afghans studied before joining the Taliban regime.

The reforms include revision of curricula, audit of the madarsas’ accounts to check whether they receive any foreign funding and discourage admission to unauthorised foreign students.

The Pakistan interior ministry had launched a campaign three years ago to deport all foreign students, studying in madarsas without proper certification and travel documents from their respective governments.

Some of these students were found involved in a number of terror-related incidents in Pakistan.

A brother of an Indonesian militant accused of carrying out a deadly bombing in Bali in October 2002, was also arrested from a madarsa in Karachi in 2003.

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