the 12-year-old told AFP.
In his home village in Kohistan, the cleric used to say that killing one Shiite would bring you 70 steps closer to heaven, he added.That is a startling view for any child to hold, but particularly in a country where sectarian violence — mostly targeting Shiites — is on the rise.
But the government’s efforts to rein in madrassas have prompted anger from many clerics, who accuse the authorities of maligning religious leaders in a bid to build an “anti-Islamic narrative”.
“The term religion and sect have been used in the... constitutional amendment, which makes it biased,” said Abdul Qudus, spokesman for Wafaq-ul-Madaris al-Arabia, the country’s largest grouping of madrassas.
“We are quite sure that the government wants to target religious institutions, but we won’t let it happen.”Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid felt the force of the clerics’ influence last month after he called madrassas “universities of illiteracy and ignorance”.
Banners appeared overnight all over Islamabad condemning him and he was forced to apologise on television. There is also the question of possible resistance from Pakistan’s wealthy friends in the Gulf. In January, a Senate committee heard that seminaries were receiving funding from Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.
The last time Pakistan tried to regulate madrassas, under military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Gulf countries — particularly Saudi Arabia — leant on Islamabad to persuade it not to push too hard on the curriculum, according to a senior official.
After Peshawar, however, Pakistani media and government ministers began publicly questioning whether financial support from Saudi Arabia for madrassas was fuelling violent extremism, a rare moment of discord between the longstanding allies.
The Saudi embassy issued a statement saying all its donations to seminaries had government clearance, but much of the funding is thought to come through informal channels.“Madrassas have special representatives who travel across the Arab world and African countries... and those who have access to Europe, they collect the money themselves from Muslim communities there,” Amir Rana, the director of think tank the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, told AFP.
“This is a grey area which is difficult to monitor.”A senior government official who asked not be named said an estimated 70 million rupees ($700,000) was illegally transferred from two Gulf countries in the space of two months this year after visits by religious leaders.
Pakistan is a deeply religious society and, despite misgivings about madrassas, clergy are generally well respected.Overcoming resistance from them will take political will and determination, which Rana said he doubts the government can muster.
“They (the government) have political interests and they are well aware of the street power of the clergy and their hold on society,” he said.Pakistan underwent a programme of Islamisation under military ruler Ziaul Haq in the 1980s and successive governments have sought to make capital from religion.
The government has sought help from religious leaders to persuade parents to immunise children against polio and used mosques and seminaries to build a narrative of patriotism.Moreover, madrassas remain popular with the poor for financial and social reasons, as well as religion.
For many less well-off families, madrassas offer a cheap way to deal with their numerous children. Unlike many schools, madrassas do not charge fees, and on top of teaching pupils, they also house, clothe and feed them.
In addition, a madrassa education can offer social prestige that in Pakistan’s deeply religious society, secular schooling cannot match.A boy from a poor family who trains long enough to become a mullah brings respect for his whole family — and the chance to open his own mosque.
NAB prosecutor claimed that the former minister adopted an illegal way to award contract to a contractor
PMDC has directed all the concerned authorities to ensure compliance of the cabinet’s decision
Iman Mazari, Toor’s other lawyer, shared that the investigation done so far has nothing to do with contempt of judges
ECP and provincial Election Commission were also made respondents in the petition
He requested that the hearing of the case should be adjourned for some time, and his plea was accepted
Cards and banners of Aurat March are not acceptable in Islamic society as, he alleged, Aurat March caused law and...