Sindh waits for Islamabad’s nod to launch drive against banned outfits


KARACHI: The provincial government is waiting for guidelines from the federal government to launch action against banned organisations, which are working with new names in Sindh, it emerged on Sunday.

“The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has been requested to provide a list of the religious outfits, which are banned but reemerging under the changed nomenclature,” said a senior official in the provincial home department while speaking to Dawn.

He said the MoI was to send policy guidelines. However, till the specific directives arrived, he added, the hierarchy of the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, and the inspector general of police, Sindh, had been requested to take action against the outlawed outfits.

“Such organisations should not be allowed to hold public gatherings and meetings but they are openly active across the province,” admitted the official.

Another official said the MoI’s guidance had been sought for taking action against the organisations, which reemerged with new names or titles, particularly against their office-bearers and key activists.

The provincial authorities, in their communication with the MoI, suggested that the databank of such organisations and activists be regularly updated and shared with the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) and the provinces.

However, Nacta itself had blamed Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan authorities for failing to come up with their anti-terrorism policies, which all the provinces and regions had been asked to do after the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December last year.

Officials in the home department admitted that for a host of reasons they had not yet been able to submit to the Nacta the reports outlining their plans to combat terrorism as required in the National Action Plan (NAP).

Sindh’s major failure is in mapping thousands of madressahs in its territory unlike the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, which have already finished the job.

The provincial authorities find them unable to seal unregistered madressahs, which is evident from the fact that it had sealed just 167 unregistered ones in Hyderabad and Benazirabad while none out of around 1,000 such schools has been sealed in Karachi.

The Nacta, in a recent letter to Sindh, requested the provincial authorities to send reports on implementation of key NAP points with mapping of madressahs on the top but the authorities concerned are still unmoved despite claims they are in the process of finishing the job.

“We are going to submit it soon,” said an official vaguely, without elaborating the timeframe and progress they had made so far with regard to the issue.

Sources in the provincial government said the reluctance in mapping the madressahs and closing unregistered ones which were operating unlawfully was because the provincial authorities wanted to avoid resistance by certain religious parties, which considered the seminary students as their street power.

Similarly, many outlawed outfits too have greater stakes in the increasing number of madressahs as a number of them provide them cadres to propel their agenda.

An official report says a total of 388,327 students are enrolled in all the madressahs in Sindh. The number of students enrolled with 2,598 registered madressahs is 269,325 while 119,002 students are documented as being enrolled with 1,423 unregistered madressahs.

News courtesy: Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2015
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