The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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77 Pak seminaries placed on watch list

Islamabad, Sept. 30: In a follow-up to the arrests of two dozen southeast Asian and Arab students from a seminary in Karachi, the government has placed 77 religious institutions nationwide on a watch list, home ministry officials said today.

Interior ministry officials confided to The Telegraph that particulars of foreign students studying in these institutions, their political background and sources of funding would be thoroughly scrutinised.

A comprehensive report about the activities of the seminaries is also being compiled, officials said.

Institutions put on watch list includes the Darul Uloom Haqqania of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq in Akora Khattak , some 120 km west of Islamabad, which had become famous as a nursery for Afghan mujahideen and later for thousands of Afghan Taliban.

Minister for education Zubaida Jalal recently admitted the existence of about 11,000 seminaries in the country. Out of these, 8,000 have been registered after President Musharraf’s government launched a drive to bring them into the national mainstream in 2001 by setting up a registration board which would revise the curricula and supervise audit of their accounts.

However, talks with the five Wifaq-ul-Madaris, a central but private authority representing five different Sunni and Shia sects, are still stalled following opposition by organisations running the seminaries.

Security officials fear that some of the students in religious institutions may have links to the al Qaida or other terrorist and sectarian outfits.

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