Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood warned on Monday that the Government will soon close down unregistered madrassas across the country. While addressing reporters in a press conference on Monday, he said the government and Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris-e-Deeniya, a federation of the five Waqfs (seminary boards) have unanimously agreed to attach seminaries with the federal ministry of education, in order to improve the standard of education.

Mehmood told the reporters that the ministry will also establish 10 regional offices, in order to facilitate the registration of madrassas. He said the government will offer full support to the registered seminaries to open their bank accounts, allowing them to teach foreign students.

However, he added that foreign students will be issued a visa for nine years only, along with the provision of vocational and training education. The minister said almost 90  percent of the madrassas in Punjab province were registered, per the findings of a report released by NACTA, last week.

He said the geo-tagging and registration of unregistered madrassas were underway. According to NACTA, geo-tagging of at least 85 percent madrassas in tribal districts, 80 percent in Sindh, and 75 percent in KP was already complete, the education minster added.

Briefing the reporters, Mehmood said the madrassas would not be under the direct control of the education ministry, but would be linked with it. The government would provide support and assistance to them, adding that the decision had no links with the 18th constitutional amendment. He said the government was diligently working to introduce a uniform curriculum for all educational institutes of the country and negotiations were still going on with religious seminaries, with respect to the system of examination.

Moreover, the education department in KP and the police department in Sindh were responsible to assist madrassas in the registration process. According to NACTA, the financial accounts of religious seminaries, including Zakat, collection of animal hides and other sources of income, would be audited by the provincial education department to pinpoint any discrepancies, if found.

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