Jamia Hafsa, the hole is plugged
ISLAMABAD, July 13: The sprawling Jamia Hafsa seminary, a large portion of which was
built illegally, became a place that people began to fear after its burqa clad
vigilantes ventured on an anti-vice campaign months ago.
the cemented building, only patches of which were properly whitewashed, was an
eyesore because of its haphazard construction and was used well by clerics to
brainwash innocent girls from remote districts of the country into pursuing
their personal agenda in the name of Islam.
Many parents who chose to
send their daughters to the seminary that provided free boarding and lodging
facilities, had no idea what went on within the confines of the building that
stands next to the Lal Masjid.
A female journalist who visited the
seminary a number of times said that the students almost always
denied there was ammunition on the campus. "Probably, they were not aware it had
been stocked up in the basements," she said.
The journalist, describing
the atmosphere at the seminary, said martyrdom was on the minds of most students
who often spoke about it in their conversations with her. "They used to ask each
other, "Did you pray for my martyrdom today?" she said.
During a brief
tour of the campus on one of her visits, she saw that there was no television
set made available to the students. Asked why it was so, she was told by the
school's principal Umme Hassan that watching television was a waste of
The parents or guardians of the girls were not allowed free access
to the seminary and could talk to them only through a window, just as one were
visiting a jail inmate. "If at all someone had to hand over something to a
student, it had to be put on a revolving window," she pointed out.
security on the campus was stepped up with visitors disallowed to take their
cell phones inside when tension between the government and the Lal Masjid
mullahs reached a fever pitch. "They had to be deposited at a makeshift
reception from where the students pencilled in the particulars of the visitor,"
Many parents have been upset over what transpired at the
school and say they would now think twice before putting up their girls at a
madrassah. "I had sent my daughter to Jamia Hafsa to study Islam and not to wage
jihad," said Khan Muhammad of district Mansehra.
Now the fate of this
bullet-riddled and blood-spattered building after being in the spotlight for
months appears to hang in balance. The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has
already said it would bring down the encroached portions.
"That the place
was used by militants is a separate matter, but we should not forget that the
seminary had provided shelter to hundreds of girls from far-off places," said
Sohail Ali Mobarik, a local resident. He agreed that illegal parts of the
building be demolished.
A few others said that an Islamic university be
established at the place where students could be taught religion on modern
lines. They thought that instead of bringing down the building, it would be
appropriate if it was upgraded and allowed to continue as a centre of Islamic
teaching but under strict government watch. Daily times
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|Updated: 14 Oct, 2014|