By: Aamir Saeed
The National Assembly was informed Thursday that as many as 190 Madaris across the country are receiving foreign funding while 182 suspicious seminaries have been shut down under the National Action Plan.
The interior ministry informed the House during the Question Hour that 72 unregistered seminaries were closed in Sindh alone while 2,337 cases were registered, 2,195 persons arrested and 73 shops were sealed across the country for hate speech and distributing hate material.
Under the misuse of loudspeakers, 9,164 cases are registered 9,340 persons arrested and 2,596 equipments were also confiscated under the NAP, the house was informed. Of 190 foreign funded Madaris, 147 are in Punjab, 6 in Sindh, 7 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and 30 in Balochistan while two of the suspected Madaris that are closed under the NAP are in Punjab, 167 in Sindh and 13 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. The house was not informed as to what action the interior ministry has initiated to stop foreign funding to the identified religious seminaries.
The members of the National Assembly were informed that members and activities of banned organizations have been placed on Schedule-IV of the Anti Terrorism Act.
Process of rationalization of these lists is in progress and once these lists are updated by the provinces, persons on these lists would be linked to National Database and Registration Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, Election Commission of Pakistan, Passport and Immigration, Arms/Driving licensing authorities, Banks, Airlines offices, Military Police and Private Security Agencies’ recruitments centers.
This will enable relevant authorities to better monitor their movements, financial transactions and make their entry intro sensitive organizations difficult, the house was informed. To another question, Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that National Action Plan is being implemented with full commitment and in coordination with all stakeholders to root out terrorism from the country.
The minister said the NAP is comprehensive and is an all-encompassing document aimed at eliminating terrorism, extremism and militancy in all its forms and manifestations. He said the main thrust of the NAP is zero tolerance for terrorist organizations and individuals; their financers and sympathizers and addressing the roots of terrorism through long-term measures.
The minister said that steps taken under the NAP include establishment of Special Trial Courts, countering hate speech and material, measures against misuse of loudspeakers, ban on glorification of terrorists, biometric verification of SIMs, Karachi operation and daily combing operations that are creating visible impact and deterrence.
He also informed the house that two groups of 45 police personnel each are being raised as Quick Response Force at international standard in Islamabad to counter terrorism. He said steps have also been taken for capacity building of the police through training and equipping them with latest weapons and technology.
To a question about funds received by Pakistan under the Kerry Lugar Bill, the House was informed that the total grant committed to Pakistan under Kerry Lugar Bill is up to US $7.5 billion of which US $4.5 billion have been disbursed through on and off budget.
An amount of US $1862.45 million of the above funds has been granted to Federally Administered Tribal Areas/Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. An amount of US $545.32 million is government to government and US $1,317.13 million is under off-budget, the house was informed. Earlier, the National Assembly proceeding was marred by protests and low attendance as only 23 MNAs were present in the house at the outset and 43 at adjournment of the sitting.
The entire opposition and members belonging to PkMAP and JUI-F staged a walk-out against the government for not replying to the questions submitted by the PkMAP MNAs. Later, PTI lawmaker Shireen Mazari pointed out the quorum and the proceeding of the House was suspended for some time. When the proceeding resumed members from opposition benches joined the House while JUI-F members preferred not to return for rest of the sitting.
Source: Business Recorder