ISLAMABAD - Agencies -  The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution, urging the government to regulate education in religious seminaries.
The resolution, seeking improvements in the curriculum and the disciplinary processes of religious seminaries, was supported by both the treasury and the opposition.
While tabling the resolution, PPP MNA Nafisa Shah said a majority of the madrassas was playing a constructive role, but many were engaged in promoting sectarianism and extremism. She added science should also be taught as a subject in religious schools.
PPP MNA Shazia Marri said introducing reforms in seminaries was the need of the hour, adding unregistered seminaries should be registered.
Taking the floor, Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf said the government would soon consult Ittehad Tanzeemat-e-Madaris to discuss curricula of seminaries.
Sardar Yousuf said 8,000 seminaries were teaching science as a subject, adding consultations were underway over the formation of a regulatory authority for religious schools.
Sardar Yousuf said the government was consulting Ittehad Tanzeemat-e-Madaris to reform the seminaries. He said over 8,000 seminaries were already providing contemporary education and the government was ready to facilitate other seminaries to introduce contemporary subjects in their curricula. He said negotiations were being held with the stakeholders to establish a regulatory authority for seminaries.
The lawmakers from the treasury and the opposition benches also proposed inclusion of the matter of attacks on polio workers in the agenda of peace negotiations with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The house, on the second private member day of the 10th session, expressing serious concern over the fast-increasing polio cases in different parts of the country, also suggested involving religious leaders in anti-polio drive.
The crippling disease now exists only in three countries, including Pakistan, and 96 cases have been detected in the last six months.
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, on a motion to eradicate polio from the country, proposed inclusion of the matter of attacks on polio workers in the agenda of peace talks with Taliban. “Administering polio drops is not forbidden in Islam,” he said, stressing the need to spread this message.
PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said PTI had already asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to include the issue of attacks on polio workers in the agenda of talks. “Involvement of religious leaders in this campaign can play a vital role,” he opined.
PPP legislator Shazia Marri, the mover of the motion, pointed out 96 cases had been detected only in six months. She expressed concern over improper security measures for polio workers. Quoting the example of US President Franklin Roosevelt, who was a victim of polio, she said there was a need of determination to eradicate this menace.
MNA Kishwar Zehra also put weight behind the proposal to include the matter of attacks on polio workers in the agenda of peace negotiations with TTP.
MNA Shahabuddin went the extra mile and proposed imprisonment of polio victims’ parents over their negligence.
Taking the floor, JUI-F lawmaker Shahida Akhtar said senior leaders of her party had administered polio drops to children. “In order to give a clear message, former JI chief late Qazi Hussain Ahmed and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman had administered polio drops to children,” she added.
The treasury benches opposed a resolution seeking to lift the ban on YouTube. Another resolution for improvements in the curricula of religious seminaries was, however, passed. Both the resolutions were tabled by PPP lawmakers.
About the resolution on lifting the ban on YouTube, the lawmakers from the treasury and the opposition benches could not reach a consensus. The mover of the resolution, Shazia Marri, said the ban on YouTube would not serve the real purpose as steps were required to resolve the issue. “We need to move forward and lift the ban on this website,” she suggested.
Marri was of the view that YouTube was accessible through proxy websites and there was no point in maintaining the ban. PTI lawmaker Shireen Mazari also supported lifting of the ban.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said the ban was imposed to block uploading of sacrilegious material.
As the resolution was opposed by the treasury members, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq delayed the matter.
The house adopted another resolution, urging the government to impose a ban on immoral programmes by private and public TV channels. Lawmakers from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), on a call-attention notice, stressed the need of taking measures against telecasting of obscene musical programmes on private channels.
Riaz Pirzada said the government was committed to taking measures against obscenity, adding the PML-N never supported immoral activities on screen.
MQM lawmaker Iqbal Muhammad Ali, on a point of order, said there was a need to review the decision of sacking 100 workers from PCB.
Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan said the federal government would construct 500,000 low-cost houses.
Sheikh Aftab Ahmad tabled ‘The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2014’ in the house.