29 march 2007
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP - NEW REPORT
Pakistan: Karachi’s Madrasas and Violent Extremism,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the negative role these religious schools continue to play five years after President Pervez Musharraf promised a full reform of the sector. Deplorable public schools, the sectarian tilt of state institutions, the marginalisation of moderate voices and military government’s reliance on religious parties for political survival have led to the growth of madrasas at an explosive rate over the past two decades. They are either unregistered or registered under laws that have no effective implementation.
“The government’s inaction has allowed well-financed networks of madrasas, sectarian parties, and militant groups to
The international community needs to press President Musharraf to fulfil his commitments, in particular to enforce genuine controls on the madrasas and allow free and fair national elections in 2007. It should also shift the focus of its donor aid from helping the government’s ineffectual efforts to reform the religious schools to improving the very weak public school sector.
“So long as the military continues to rely on the mullahs to retain power, madrasas and the violent extremism they encourage will become ever more powerful in Pakistani society, undermining the security of the state and its citizens”, says Robert Templer, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director. “Real reform will only be possible through the strengthening of the country’s moderate parties and forces, with free and fair national elections in 2007 an essential first step”.