Lal Masjid crisis reopens madressah reforms issue
ISLAMABAD, July 11: The bloody end to the Lal Masjid saga has once again
brought the madressah reforms to the forefront raising queries whether the
government would be able to achieve its objective of bringing them at par with
the regular school system of the country.
The Lal Masjid-run Jamia Hafsa
and Jamia Fareedia may well be among a handful of seminaries directly involved
in promoting the armed militancy and violence. The government has a serious
challenge ahead to determine that how many of them could be brought on
When the education ministry conducted its National Education
Census last year, there were 13,000 madressahs running in every nook and corner
of the country with over 1.5 million students enrolled with
According to the NEC, Punjab takes lead with 5,459 seminaries
followed by the NWFP, 2,843; Sindh, 1,935; Federally Administrated Northern
Areas (FANA), 1,193; Balochistan, 769; Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 586; Federally
Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), 135, and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
with 77 madressahs.
The madressahs covered in the NEC have affiliation
with three different boards called Wafaq, which controls 28 per cent of the
total seminaries in the country; Tanzeem 22 per cent; and Rabta 7 per cent and
other small organisations look after 8 per cent, whereas the rest of the 35 per
cent are run independently without any affiliation.
control madressahs run under the Deobandi school of thought, Tanzeemul Madaris
has madressahs of the Barelvi sect affiliated with it and Rabta, a madressah
board managed by the Jamaat-i-Islami.
The government's earlier initiative
to reform madressahs to bring them at par with the regular school system of the
country had failed. However, with the Lal Masjid episode being in the headlines
worldwide during the last eight days, the government has to take some concrete
decision in days to come.
Presently, the government had put madressah
reforms on hold until a revised PC I had been accepted by all quarters
During the last five years, the madressah boards had refused
to come on board with the government, expressing their reservations that in the
name of reforms they would eventually be taken over by the government. Dawn