Religious seminaries related reforms have been badly affected because Deobandi seminaries are not in favour of audit of their funds since they have always been accused of receiving lion’s share in funds since the so-called Afghan jihad orchestrated by US-led West in collusion with Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi monarchy under which Deobandis of Pakistan were lured and they radicalized their otherwise Hanafi creed to make it compatible with intolerant Wahhabism.
The reforms process had been progressing well, but hit snags over the audit of funds, a religious scholar disclosed after a meeting hosted by National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua, whose secretariat is spearheading the process.
On the other hand, Deobandi seminaries are trying to mislead media on the pretext that provincial governments were responsible for slow process. They blamed them for slow-paced registration process being pursued by the provincial governments as part of their efforts to reform the religious education system.
The representatives of umbrella organisations of seminaries — Tanzeemat-i-Madaris — and religious scholars attended the said meeting that was held to review the progress on reforms of seminaries and mainstreaming of their graduates.
“Representatives of seminaries have pointed out that the process of registration is very slow and stressed that the provincial authorities concerned should expedite the process,” NSA’s office said after the meeting.
There are around 38,000 seminaries in the country with a total of around 3.5 million registered students. The government is working on reforming the religious education system and as part of its efforts to mainstream their graduates, it has already been decided that students of seminaries would, besides their religious syllabus, study the same curriculum as being taught in mainstream schools.
Bodies representing the seminaries — Wifaqul Madaris and Ittehad-i-Tanzeemat-i-Madaris — had last year agreed on reforming the curriculum.
During the meeting, matters pertaining to curriculum, equivalence, examination system, procedures involved in the process of mainstreaming and strategy for further upgrade of seminaries were discussed, the NSA’s office said about the meeting.
Points of agreement and disagreement were discussed in detail and everyone appreciated the progress made so far. They resolved to continue to work together for provision of better opportunities to students of seminaries.
Gen Janjua made a presentation on various aspects of the reforms aimed at enabling the students of seminaries to become part of the mainstream education system of the country and ultimately join a profession of their choice.
Besides Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf and Minister for Education Balighur Rehman, the meeting was attended by prominent members of Ittehad-i-Tanzeemat-i-Madaris — Mufti Munibur Rehman, Deobandi Qari Muhammad Hanif Jalandhri, Muhammad Yasin Zafar, Abdul Malik, Shia cleric Allama Niyaz Hussain Naqvi, Dr Syed Muhammad Naqvi and another Dr Saeed Khan as well as officials from various departments.