More than 8,000 Madressahs operating in Pakistan
Lahore, June 14, 2008: Jamia Hafsa, known the world over as Lal Masjid, which was attacked and
in which female militants attracted the most attention last year, is only one of
200 such female seminaries in the country.
These 200 Madressahs are
engaged in imparting religious education up to the level of Shahadat-e-Aaliya
(equivalent to university graduation) and Shahadat-e-Aalmiya (post-graduation).
An investigation has revealed that more than 8,000 religious
seminaries, where more than 1.7 million students are enrolled, are affiliated
with the Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia (WMA).
While the US and Pakistan
have remained busy in identifying religious seminaries allegedly producing
religiously-motivated male suicide bombers, the government never noticed the
surreptitious growth of female seminaries engaged in imparting higher religious
education (graduation and post-graduation) to a large number of females as
compared to males inducted in such institutions.
The break-up of the
figures of the seminaries collected from government sources directly dealing
with such institutions show that out of more than 8,000 religious seminaries in
the country, 771 are imparting religious education up to Aaliya (graduation) and
Aalmiya levels (post-graduation) for both male and female respectively.
The remaining 7,229 institutions are teaching basic religious education
up to the levels of Shahadat ul Aamah (matriculation) and Shahadat ul Khassa
(intermediate), teaching their own set of books and syllabi but not imparting
modern subjects, especially sciences.
The investigation reveals strange
but interesting data. While there are only 68 seminaries offering graduate
courses in religious studies to females, the number of seminaries offering
post-graduate studies to females is 130.
Similarly, 270 institutions are
offering graduate studies on Islam to male students while 299 seminaries are
imparting post-graduate studies to them. A majority of the seminaries in
Pakistan belong to Deobandi school of thought, establishing a direct theological
link with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They included the two Jamia
Hafsa and Jamia Faridia also.
Another interesting feature of the
research shows that more females are engaged in
than male students. There are at least 10 such areas in Pakistan where the
number of female religious institutions are higher than male institutions.
The study reveals that there are about 50 seminaries for females
compared with 30 seminaries for male students in Islamabad, Bahawalnagar, Dera
Ghazi Khan, Multan, Chakwal, Sheikhupura, Haripur Hazara (NWFP), Putch and
Santhoti in Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), Lakki Marwat, Mansehra
There is, however, another pattern in certain areas where
both male and female institutions, having facilities to impart postgraduate
religious education, are equal in number. There are about 40 institutions each
for male and female students in Rawalpindi, Khuzdar and Ziarat (Balochistan),
Rahim Yar Khan, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Mianwali, Abbottabad, Bagh,
Muzaffarabad and Mirpur (AJK), Charsadda (NWFP) and Swat.
the biggest city of Pakistan owns the highest number of seminaries for producing
male clerics. Karachi claims to have nine female seminaries and 49 male
seminaries. Okara (Punjab) has three for males and one for females; Jhang has
six for males, three for females; Hyderabad (Sindh) has nine for males, five for
females; Khairpur (Sindh) has six for males and two for females. The News
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Sindh allocates Rs 500m to madrassas
Karachi: The Sindh government has allocated Rs 500 million in the
2008-09 budget for the province's madrassas, said sources in the Sindh Finance
Department. This allocation is for a project 'Improvement and capacity building
of madrassas' under which the government will provide facilities for modern
education, including mathematics, English, Urdu, Sindhi and computers teachers,
whose salaries will be paid by the government. The federal government launched a
project some years ago called 'Deeni Madrassa Reform Project'. Sources said that
Rs 5 billion were allocated to this project at a federal level, while Sindh's
share was Rs 1.5 billion. However, this project failed to streamline the
madrassahs, since NOCs were required from various departments, which were not
easy to obtain. After the failure of the first project, the Sindh government
will attempt to streamline the province's madrassas. However, it has not been
made clear what procedure will be adopted for this provincial project. Daily Times
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