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All Pakistani madrasahs to be registered - education minister

ISLAMABAD, July 29 (RIA Novosti, Yevgeny Pakhomov) - Pakistan is going to introduce the obligatory procedure of registering madrasahs, religious educational institutions, all over the country.

Pakistani Minister of Education Javed Ashraf Qazi told journalists the authorities would close all unregistered madrasahs starting from December.

"We will fulfill President Pervez Musharraf's decision to shut down all madrasahs that fail to register by December," the minister said.

Local commentators said the procedure would allow the authorities to learn about the educational programs of each of the schools and determine whether "extremist or provocative literature" was being spread there.

The country's authorities denied that the decision was a reaction to the July 7 terrorist acts in London. However, it was after these events, which took the lives of over 60, that the Pakistani police carried out a number of raids on madrasahs and mosques. According to different sources, the police arrested 250-600 people and confiscated extremist Islamic literature.

After the terrorist acts in London, British authorities released information about several suspects who were British citizens of Pakistani descent and who had visited a number of madrasahs in Pakistan not long before the bombings.

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