In the wake of a meeting with the Ittehad-e-Tanzeem-ul-Madaris Pakistan’s (ITMP) delegation, the federal government on Friday decided to lift the ‘undeclared ban’ on madrassahs for opening bank accounts along with addressing other reservations posed by the seminary body, according to sources.
The delegation met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and informed him about the issues which madrassahs across the country are facing. After hearing their reservations, the premier pledged cooperation to make registration of madrassahs simpler and ensure the education they provide to be line with modern standards.
The sources also said that the government has accepted the demands of the delegation based on which it has agreed to amend the law for the registration of seminaries.
Under the proposed amendment, Section 21 will be added to the Registration Act. As a result of the amendment, deputy commissioners will be able to process the registration of madrassahs in their respective districts.
PM Shehbaz also directed the Ministry of Law to prepare the legal draft soon, while powerful institutions have also been taken into confidence with regard to the registration of madrassahs.
The delegation, according to the sources, included Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Haneef Jalandhari, Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, Sahibzada Abdul Mustafa Hazarvi, Professor Sajid Mir, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, Maulana Fazal Rahim Ashrafi and other scholars.
In May 2021, the Directorate General of Religious Education (DGRE) registered around 5,000 seminaries across Pakistan for which it had 16 regional offices. There were around 35,000 seminaries in the country at the time.
On its website, the ministry of education says: “Around three million students are enrolled in the 35,000 seminaries out of which 26,160 are registered with the provincial/area governments under the society act. About 25,000 seminaries are affiliated with five organisations/boards (examining bodies) working under the supra body of Madaris Ittehad Tanzeematul Madaris Pakistan (ITMP).”
The government established the directorate in October 2019 with the aim of specifically registering madrassahs in Pakistan. Head of the directorate Rafiq Tahir at the time said that the registration of madrassahs would process smoothly without any resistance.