Pakistan: Govt to control religious schools

KARACHI, 4 December - The Pakistan government wants to have a tighter control on religious schools of the country with a view to preventing the extremist elements from bringing embarrassment to the administration like they had done during the recent Afghan crisis.

It simultaneously has been working on plans to deport all those Afghan nationals who are involved in politics, and can be dangerous for the stability and solidarity of the country. Some 250 of them have already been deported, while another 800 are to be sent out soon, officials here have revealed.

A hint to this effect was dropped by Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider during his meeting with journalists in Karachi on Saturday night. “We want to do it in consultation with scholars of repute,” he said, but clarified that that those schools run by the extremists will actually be the target. Sources said that Moin intends briefing President Pervez Musharraf about his plans.

Action on it is expected soon after Eid Al-Fitr. The president had already expressed his disgust with the way the extremists had behaved because of the American action in Afghanistan after the events of Sept. 11. The government is understood to have already ordered a watch on religious parties. These include the Jamat-e-Islami whose leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad, and his No. 2, Liaquat Baloch, are currently in detention.

The Peshawar High Court has refused bail to Qazi, and the Sindh High Court has extended the remand for Baloch in Karachi jail for another 15 days. Similar vigil is also be kept on the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, the Sipah-e-Sahaba, and the Therik-e-Jafria, all of whom are considered militant organizations.

Moin had no hesitation in asking the religious leaders with unblemished record to identify the schools with Taleban links in Pakistan.