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Equating madrassas in Pakistan with terrorism unfair: PM Khan

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Islamabad, Oct 4 :  Ignoring the role of madrassas in Pakistan and equating them with terrorism was unfair, Prime Minister Imran Khan has told the country’s top clerics as he underlined that improving the education system was his government’s top priority.

Khan made the remarks during his first meeting with a prominent delegation of Ulema (clerics), who called on him at the Prime Minister Office to discuss madrassa reforms and other related issues, media reports said Thursday.

He said the government wanted to eradicate class-based education system and introduce uniform syllabi and curriculum in the education sector, which included the seminaries.

Khan said that the services rendered by the seminaries for the progress of the society could not be ignored and it was unfair to link all religious institutions with terrorism, Dawn newspaper reported.

According to reports, several seminaries in Pakistan have close ties with radical militant groups and play a critical role in sustaining the international terrorist network.

He said that the multiple education systems in the country were a dividing line and this had to be eradicated.

“It is of paramount importance that we should have a uniform education system in order to achieve prosperity,” Khan said.

He said that the seminary students had the right to participate in all sectors of life and mainstreaming the madrassas was essential.

The main objective of bringing reforms in the education sector was to end discrimination and to bring students of seminaries at par with other students, he added.

The delegation headed by Mufti Muneebur Rehman included heads of madrassa boards of four mainstream schools of thoughts in the country and one belonging to the Jamaat-i-Islami.

Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi were also present at the meeting, the Express Tribune reported.

The delegation of prominent clerics congratulated Khan over his election victory and backed his government’s reform agenda, it said.

Mainstreaming of the religious seminaries was part of the 20-point National Action Plan formulated in the wake of the deadly terror attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) in December 2014. However, not much progress has been made, the report said.

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