The government and seminaries have finally reached consensus regarding the registration and change in syllabus for madrassas and other religious institutions. Minister for Interior Chaudry Nisar, has made it clear that seminaries are not the target of the government but, strict action will be taken against those found involved in any terror-related activity. He has also applauded the government for taking the huge step of enforcing registration, where for the last 30 years governments had failed to do so.
The Interior Minister’s comments are significant in the wake of the recent demand that has come from the head of US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, to shut down those seminaries which are spreading extremism in Pakistan. Registering them and making sure they are always on the government’s radar, is a worthy step towards emphasising that no threatening activities will be tolerated, however, this will do nothing to stop radicalisation.
Children must go to school, and a school is not a madrassa. This would be a hard line to take, and would be a real step in squashing radical ideology. Madrassas have to stop becoming part of a “solution”. The solution is national integration rather than religious divides. This is not to say madrassas should be closed, just that a real school must be a priority. Religious education can continue after school hours if parents so wish.
Chaudhry Nisar has emphasised on not leaving any stone unturned to combat terrorism, but has clearly declared that Maulana Abdul Aziz, the radical vitriol-spewing cleric of Lal Masjid, has done nothing wrong. In the same vein, the Pakistani military has driven some jihadist groups out of business or into hiding over the past year, but nothing has been done to stop other banned jihadist or sectarian groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. The groups permeate classes and social groups, such is the strength of their ideological hold over society. A special unit of the police has announced the arrest of a man who allegedly bankrolled the militants who carried out the grisly Safoora Goth bus attack. He has been claimed to be a “highly educated” man, having graduated (BSc) in management from a university in the US. Goes to show that Western education is not the culprit, religious indoctrination is.
The way we are fighting terrorism does nothing to defeat the radical ideology, and is doing very little to fight the real threat of terrorism. A secular revolution is in order.