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September 17, 2019

Madrasa body asks govt to issue visas to foreign students


September 17, 2019

Two weeks after an agreement was inked between government and madrasa bodies, leaders of the Wifaqul Madaris al Arabia (WMAA) on Monday demanded of the government to immediately start fulfilling the promises made in the agreement, allow the madrasas to open bank accounts and let foreign students study in Pakistani madrasas by issuing them with visas.

On August 29, the government signed the agreement with the Ittehad-e-Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP), a body representing madrasas of five schools of thoughts in the country. Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood and the ITMP leaders had signed the accord.

Sharing details of the agreement, Jamia Binoria Al-Alamia principal Mufti Muhammad Naeem said at a press conference at the seminary that the accord provides that all madrasas operating in the country register with the Education Ministry, which will open 12 facilitation centres nationwide towards this end.

Failure to comply will lead to closure and a bar on opening bank accounts. All seminaries have agreed to incorporate contemporary subjects into their curricula. In return, the government will expedite action on foreign students’ visa applications on the understanding that they do not exceed the maximum limit of nine years.

Mufti Naeem said it seems that government is not serious about fulfilling the demands made in the agreement. “Madrasas are still not able to open accounts in banks and also the government is not issuing visas to foreign students to study in Pakistan’s madrasas,” said Naeem, who is also a leader of the WMAA, a body representing Deobandi madrasas. He was accompanied by Maulana Abdul Hameed Tonsavi, Maulana Talha Rehmani, and Maulana Ghulam Rasool.

He said that because of visa delays, foreign students’ academic year had been wasted. “Some students reached Pakistan to visit on family visas to get admission for saving a year, but they are being deported,” he claimed.

He asked the government for early implementation of the promises to avoid any possible complications. “We will raise the issue in the WMAA’s next meeting and with consultation cancel the agreement with the government. We may also announce a protest movement in case the demands are not fulfilled,” he said.

Mufti Naeem, a prominent religious scholar and principal of Jamia Binoria International Karachi, has condemned the Israeli prime minister’s statement of merging western Palestine into Israel and said that Netanyahu’s statement was an outcome of Muslim rulers’ silence and discord among them.

Showing solidarity with the struggles of Kashmir and Palestine, the WMAA leaders stressed the need for unity in the Muslim world. “Silence on Indian barbarism over Kashmir encourages Israel to integrate occupied West Bank into Israel. If Muslims were united, India would not have taken such action in Kashmir and Netanyahu would not have had the courage to make such a statement,” Naeem said.

He said that Palestine and Kashmir were not issues of Arabs or Pakistan but they were issues of the entire Muslim world. Appreciating Saudi Arabia’s firm’s reaction to the Israeli prime minister’s statement, Mufti Naeem said that the kingdom truly represented the entire Muslim world and other Muslim countries should follow suit.

They also condemned the recent attack on a Saudi oil refinery and said that it was a conspiracy to occupy the resources of the Muslim world and weaken the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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