MALAKAND -  Mufti Fazal Jameel, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter head of Tanzeem-ul-Madaris Pakistan on Saturday rejected amendments in Religious Institutions Registration Act-2005 proposed by KP government and termed the same as an attempt to ban religious seminaries in the province.

Mufti said while speaking at a news conference at Dargai Press Club that although the government was presently registering religious institutions under the 1860 Industrial Act, but during Musharraf’s regime in 2005, the 21st section was added to the said act as approved by national assembly and all provincial assemblies, after consensus from all five religious boards including Wifaqul-Madaris and Tanzeem-ul-Madaris.

He asked Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to refrain from imposing such regulations aimed at banning “deeni madaris” in the province, adding that the incapable provincial government was unaware of the bills and amendments tabled in KP Assembly for legislation as witnessed by them in the amendment of the section 15 of Industrial Act of 1860 and Industrial Act of 2005, through which the KP government would legislate for the registration of deeni madaris.

He said that Tanzeem-ul-Madaris while in a meeting with Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaisar in the presence of Minister for Religious Affairs Habib-ur-Rahman not only informed the government on reservations of ulemas about the complicated registration process and financial sanctions proposed in the amendment to be tabled in the assembly soon. He said asked the government to treat deeni madaris like private schools and educational institutions.

He said that they could also agree for deeni madaris to be treated as non-government organisations (NGOs) like in the past.  Mufti Jameel said that they could not accept the questions about their educational curriculum, textbooks and financial matters because the government provides no funds for religious institutions at all.

The public is our chief donor and their donations are utilised in these religious institutions on boarding, meal, text books and educating of mostly orphans, poor and out of home students seeking religious education. Mufti also stressed upon the provincial government to increase and approve assistance for religious schools across KP and constitute a free and partial mechanism for its equal distributions among the religious institutions in the province.