Seminaries question police scrutiny
ISLAMABAD: Administrators belonging to various religious seminaries have expressed reservations over the collection of details of students and staff by police for verification.[TOP]
Police officials have once again started scrutinising religious seminaries after the Attock suicide attack, in which 20 people including the Punjab home minister and a DSP were killed.
They (the administrators) raised their reservations with the Inspector General (IGP) of Islamabad Police Tahir Alam Khan at a meeting held at the Central Police Office on Wednesday, police sources said.
The sources said the seminaries repre-sentatives expressed their apprehension that the law enforcement would conduct raids at seminaries, or pick up students or staffforinterrogation at any time.
They raised concerns regarding a similar activity in Rawalpindi, the sources added.
The administrators objected to police officials collecting details from students, teachers and visitors directly.
They should contact them for any detail, said one of the representatives at the meeting. They also objected to police visits after sunset.
The police should visit during the daytime, because nighttime visits by law enforcement disturb students and teachers, the seminaries representatives said.
They were also reportedly reluctant tohand over details of all the seminary students, teaching and administrative staff, as well as financial details.
The administrators asked for details of the inspections and questioned the cooperation sought from them by the police.
In response, the IGP told the administrators that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered that those seminaries must be searched where students were found involved in criminal or terrorist activities.
IGP Khan directed the police officials to verify seminary students` details from their native towns. The administrators were also asked to inform the police of any visitors, the sources said.
Khan said the cooperation of religious scholars was vital to a peaceful society,and the Islamabad police would address the concerns of the administrators.
He also applauded the minimal use of loudspeakers, but stated that it is necessary to create awareness among religious scholars in rural areas, where reports of the misuse of loudspeakers are more frequent.
The administrators assured the IGP that seminaries and mosques would promote inter-faith harmony, and that no one would be allowed to promote sectarianism.
They said that materials contained hate speech would not be allowed in seminaries.
According to the sources, the administrators assured the IGP of their cooperation, and agreed to provide the relevant information to the Islamabad police.