Islamabad, July 15 (IANS) — Musharraf’s directive came after an intelligence report warned that over 300 mosques in Islamabad were being converted into centres of religious fundamentalism and could become a “potent and motivated force” to harm the interests of the country, Daily Times reported Tuesday.
“Their managements, instead of producing broad-minded and educated Muslims, are nurturing a rigid young breed who work as a tool for subversive elements to harm Pakistan,” the intelligence report said.
Islamabad is “more prone to religious extremism than other parts of Pakistan“.
The president’s directive has been conveyed to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat. It was not immediately clear when the communication was sent. Musharraf left Monday on a six-day tour of three North African nations.
His directive comes in the wake of a series of sectarian strikes in the country that have killed scores of people.
In July over 40 Muslims belonging to the minority Shia sect were killed in a mosque bombing in Quetta while Friday prayers were under way. A month before that, 11 police recruits from the minority Hazara tribe of Balochistan lost their lives in an attack on their bus in Quetta.
Balochistan, the home province of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, is ruled by the six-party religious alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which is also the principal opposition grouping in Parliament.
The MMA also rules the neighbouring North West Frontier Province, which last month mandated the Shariat law. Responding to concerns within the country and outside that this would lead to the “Talibanisation” of Pakistan, Musharraf has repeatedly stated that he would not permit this to happen.
Officials estimate that around 15,000 students study and live in Islamabad’s seminaries.
The Capital Development Authority (CDA), Daily Times said, “is now looking to take fresh action against illegally constructed mosques and seminaries in the city, after the recent terrorist attacks in the country and the government’s intention to shut down banned religious organisations.
“Mosques and seminaries might also be searched by intelligence personnel for wanted men.”
© Copyright 2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.