Empower police to check seminaries: Pakistani daily

Islamabad, Sep 7 (IANS) The police needs to be empowered if checks on seminaries are expected to yield any real results, a Pakistani daily said Monday after terror suspects were arrested from a madrasa here.

An editorial “Crackdown On Seminaries” in The Nation on Monday said that a crackdown on a seminary in the capital by the Pakistan Rangers along with the Rawalpindi police has led to the arrest of terror suspects, causing embarrassment to the Islamabad police who had been denied entry into this particular seminary.

“The dynamics between the Rawalpindi and the Islamabad Police shows a clear dysfunction.”

The daily said that the Islamabad police twice checked the seminary, but they failed to retrieve information regarding their students and their backgrounds.

“They were also denied entry to the residential area of the seminary and due to the lack of support from their higher ups, the check was concluded without results. Now that the Rangers have officially begun a covert operation in Punjab, more incidences like these are bound to come to light,” it said.

It noted that the government’s efforts to rein in madrassas had prompted anger from many clerics, who accuse the authorities of maligning religious leaders in a bid to build an “anti-Islamic narrative”.

“There is also the question of possible resistance from Pakistan’s wealthy friends in the Gulf. In January, a Senate committee heard that seminaries were receiving funding from Middle Eastern countries… but the government is seen to go ahead with the operation despite the opposition from the religious groups and the external pressure and it is most certainly a move welcomed by many.”

The editorial went on to say that Pakistan is a deeply religious society and, despite misgivings about madrassas, clergy are generally well respected.

“Overcoming resistance from them will take political will and determination that seems to be lacking so far.”

It added: “The police needs to be empowered if these checks are expected to yield any real results.”

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