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Provinces to check mushroom growth of madrassas: 554 foreign students deported from madrassas, NA told

ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: The government has so far deported 554 foreign students from seminaries across Pakistan, while cases of another 717 such students are under consideration for deportation, the Ministry of Interior told the National Assembly (NA) in a written reply to a question on Thursday.

It said that all the foreign students failing to submit no objection certificate (NOC) from their respective governments would be deported and no foreign student allowed admission in Pakistani seminaries in future.

The ministry said that 12,395 of the total 13,500 madrassas across Pakistan had been registered during the government's drive to regulate seminaries and no religious school could be opened without the government's NOC under the new rules. It informed the House that the government had paid Rs 469.54 million compensation to the families, who lost their members in terrorism incidents during 2006-07.

In reply to another question, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said that the provincial governments had been directed to maintain biometric record (database) of all prisoners in different jails with the assistance of NADRA. He said that biometric equipment would be installed at all prisons, which would help improve the overall law and order situation. Sherpao said the government had also decided to update red book on quarterly basis and develop information-sharing mechanism at the district level. He said the provinces had been asked to collect information about seminaries fanning extremism or militancy and media campaigns should be arranged to discourage suicide attacks. He said that Fatwas (edits) of reputed religious clerics denouncing extremism should be given space and time in print and electronic media respectively.

Sherpao said that the provinces had been ordered to re-arrest all terrorists released from jails under the Anti-Terrorism Act and check mushroom growth of seminaries. The provinces had also been asked to propagate "rational" interpretation of Quranic verses on Jihad by religious scholars. He said that since July last year the government had launched a campaign against extremism and militancy, hate literature and Khateebs fanning sectarian hatred.

He said a modern immigration control system "PISCES" was being installed at 18 entry/exit points to check the entry of terrorists in the country. The system is functional Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan and Faisalabad airports, KPT and Ghass Bandar seaports in addition to Wagah Railway Station and Wagah land route. Sherpao said the government had also launched Rs 1.1 billion fingerprints identification project, under which the FIA had so far taken 240,000 fingerprints. Daily times
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