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Islamabad seminaries searched for terrorists

The authorities in this Pakistani capital have launched a crackdown on seminaries in Islamabad, searching 10 of them to ensure that terrorists are not hiding in the guise of students. No arrest has been made.

world Updated: Oct 19, 2009 15:27 IST

The authorities in this Pakistani capital have launched a crackdown on seminaries in Islamabad, searching 10 of them to ensure that terrorists are not hiding in the guise of students. No arrest has been made.

The managements of the madrassas were told that stern action would be taken if they were found to be providing refuge to terrorists.

Teams comprising magistrates and police officials also combed some rural areas, private guest-houses and hotels, Dawn reported Monday.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said action would also be taken against foreign nationals working as prayer leaders.

"We will not allow any foreigner to become Imam-i-Masjid," the minister said in a statement shortly after the crackdown was launched on Saturday night on the basis of intelligence reports that some of the suspects from South Waziristan, where the military has launched a major offensive against the Taliban, had taken refuge in madrassas and could carry out terrorist attacks in Islamabad and other parts of the country.

Wafaqul Madrassas, an association of seminaries, criticised the searches, saying such measures could undermine an agreement it had signed with the government for revamping the curriculum and introducing modern subjects.

Wafaqul Madrassas office bearers Saleemullah Khan and Muhammad Hanif Jalandhry pointed out in a joint statement that the police did not find anything objectionable in the seminaries.

This, they said, proved that allegations against these schools were false.