INTERNATIONAL

Pakistan curbs on madrassas

B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf on Thursday promulgated an ordinance making it mandatory for the deeni madrassas (religious seminaries) to register with the Government. These schools have been focus of international attention after the July London attacks. Last month in his interaction with foreign media in Rawalpindi Gen. Musharraf announced that the religious schools, which do not register by December 31, would be shut down. On the same day he had declared that 1400-odd foreign students in the religious schools of different parts of Pakistan would be sent back to their countries. At the moment the Government has no precise estimate of number of religious schools in the country. Efforts made in early 2002 to register them and introduce changes in the curricula taught by them did not make much headway due to resistance from religious parties. The four provinces in the country have promulgated separate ordinances on similar lines.

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