The government is firm on their promise of keeping a check on extremism- making sure all suspicious activities are targeted and accounted for (excluding seminaries and religious outfits, of course). Recently, eight private and public sector universities of Punjab have been put under watch for subversive debate on “sensitive matters of national interest” and “possible links with extremist sleeper cells”.

Findings of the security agencies, have shown that individuals and groups at these eight campuses are holding private meetings in which they “glorify the extremists in the name of religion and spread negative propaganda against ongoing security operations in Fata, Balochistan, Karachi and Punjab”. If such is the case, the government is taking the right step in making sure these pockets do not spread any further.

However, extremism at public and private universities is nothing new and has been an ongoing problem since the 1980s. The state is addressing the issue much too late.

What is even more worrisome is how all boards of religious seminaries have unanimously rejected the government’s fresh proposals on madarssa registration, curriculum development and examination system. The heads and upper councils of the five federations representing all Islamic schools of thought in their consultative meetings have decided to resist these “unjustified” demands. Qari Hanif Jalandhari of Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arbia — the largest federation of Islamic seminaries around the world, has out rightly called these reforms by the government unnecessary and against their right to educate their students. This is a major challenge to the authority of the state. In a time like this heed should not be given to such demands. Either the madaris should fall in line, or should be made to close down.

It is reported that at least 190 Madaris, including 30 in Balochistan, 147 in Punjab, 6 in Sindh and seven in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are found to be receiving funds from foreign countries. These steps, to ensure an ideological crackdown are important and resistance must be subdued. We are a state that has gone against all international custom and local protest to establish a parallel justice system and reinstate the death penalty… yet, we cant seem to control a groups of “peaceful” seminaries.