NEW YORK - With public education in shambles in Pakistan, the poorest families have turned to Islamic schools that feed and house children while pushing a militant brand of Islam. According to a media report, though religious seminaries make up only about seven percent of the primary schools in the country, their influence has been amplified by the inadequacy of public education and the innate religiosity of the countryside, where two-thirds of the people live. The elementary school in a poor village is easy to mistake for a cow shed. It has a dirt floor and no lights, and crows swoop through its glassless windows, The New York Times reported Monday. The concentration of seminaries in southern Punjab has become an urgent concern in the face of Pakistans expanding insurgency. The schools offer almost no instructions beyond memorising the Holy Quran, thus creating a widening pool of young minds that are sympathetic to militancy. In an analysis of the profiles of suicide bombers who have struck in Punjab, the Pakistan police said that more than two-thirds had attended the seminaries. We are at the beginning of a great storm that is about to sweep the country, said Ibn Abduh Rehman, who directs the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent organisation. Its red alert for Pakistan. President Barack Obama said in a news conference last week that he was gravely concerned about the situation in Pakistan, and asked Congress to approve proposed assistance, tripling the aid to Pakistan for non-military purposes, including education. But education has never been a priority here, and even Pakistans current plan to double the spending on education next year might collapse just like the past efforts, which were thwarted by sluggish bureaucracies, unstable governments and a lack of commitment by Pakistans governing elite to the poor, The New York Times says. Pakistani families have long turned to seminaries and the religious schools make up a relatively small minority. But even for the majority who attend public school, learning has an Islamic bent. Literacy in Pakistan has grown from barely 20 percent at independence 61 years ago, and the government recently improved the curriculum and reduced its emphasis on Islam. But even today, only about half of Pakistanis can read and write, far below the proportion in countries with similar per-capita income, like Vietnam.