The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) has announced their strong disapproval over the raiding of religious seminaries by the federal and provincial governments. The provincial leader of the JUI-F in KP called for an immediate halt to such security raids, and said that they were only being conducted to please the West.

JUI-F is of the view that on one hand, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is defending religious seminaries on the floor of the house; while on the other, the provincial home department and police are frequently arresting Ulema and students by conducting raids on madaris.

The government should be commended over making sure that religious seminaries are always on their radar- a worthy step towards emphasizing that no threatening activities will be tolerated. However, they need to be clear on the policy direction. If they are going after madrassas, then madrassas should not be protected by the Interior Minister in parliament. Politics and diplomacy are advised, but the political double-speak is apparently not clear to more conservative politicians, who see the situation in black or white where the state is either for them or against them.

Previously, the JUI-F has accused the state of attacking the Islamic identity of the country, due to the increased scrutiny of madrassas. They argue that they have been pretty reconciliatory over the issue of registration, and the government should not consider this a weakness.

The JUI-F is making an issue where there is none. Did they expect nothing to happen to the status quo religious education system after 144 people were killed by militants? The government is in a frenzy to monitor and raid everything, from personal email accounts with the Cyber Crime Bill to secular education institutes (or as the JUI-F would term them, “Western”). Over two dozen educational institutions of both public and private sector have already been narrowed down for an extensive security check for suspected links with banned outfits. The JUI-F is probably only questioning the government to get political mileage out of the issue.

Just as there is nothing “Western” about the National Action Plan, there is nothing “Western” about monitoring seminaries. And if they have nothing to hide, what is all the fuss about? These seminaries are not being targeted because of some western ploy; rather because some of them are blatantly misusing religion to create hatred.

Security agencies have disseminated information concerning some teachers and students of public and private educational institutions who are secretly holding meetings to muster support against anti-terror operations in tribal areas, Balochistan, Karachi and Punjab. There is no time to negotiate with any individual or organisation that might feel that security raids are not necessary.