ISLAMABAD - The government has failed to make Pakistan Madrassah Board functional that was set up for mainstreaming religious seminaries, the National Assembly was told on Monday.

Minister for Religious Affairs Noor ul Haq Qadri while replying to a question said the Pakistan Madrasah Board could not become functional because Wafaqs and Tanzeemat did not nominate their representatives for the board and refused to adopt the government initiative. He said a corporate body was set up with a major objective to establish model religious seminaries and to affiliate existing seminaries with it.

“The government endeavoured to establish its own Board to compete with the existing five Wafaqs and Tanzeemat with which 95 per cent Madrassahs are affiliated. However, the government efforts could not materialise as the Wafaqs and Tanzeemat, which were to nominate their representatives for the Board refused to adopt the government initiative and did not nominate their members”, the written reply said.

Consequently the Board could not be made function till date, the minister further explained.

Mainstreaming religious seminaries has been a priority since 2001 but after deadly attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014, it became a vital part of the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP).

The minister said in 2103-14 Rs46500,000 were allocated in the annual budget and almost all of the amount was utilised. During 2014-15 the budget allocation was Rs50 million and all money was used except Rs128,104. During 2015-16 to 2017-18 the budget allocation was around Rs50 million and every year almost all the amount was utilised.

Replying another question, Minister for Water Resources Muhammad Faisal Vawda said 32,139 acres of land has been acquired for Diamer-Bhasha Dam which is 86 per cent of the total land to be acquired.

He said similarly 31,977 acres land has been acquired in Gilgit-Baltistan and 162 acres in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said Diamer Bhasha Dam, Mohmand Dam, Kurram Tangi Dam and Nai Gaj Dam are at implementation stage.

Vawda said under the head of Neelum Jhelum surcharge Rs61.85 billion has been collected through electricity bills since 2007-08. He said there is no proposal initiated by Wapda to include Prime Minister and Supreme Court of Pakistan fund to finance Diamer Basha and Mohamed Dams on the same analogy.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony responding to another query said government has allocated an amount of Rs41.42 million for 2018-19 under Minority Welfare Fund, for the improvement of burial places and renovation of places of religious importance.

Earlier, the House Business Advisory Committee of the National Assembly decided that the current NA Session will continue till 25th January, 2019.