Geo-tagging of Madrassas in Punjab ‘completed’

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RAWALPINDI: The geo-tagging of religious seminaries in Punjab has been completed by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) while the process to separate hardcore elements from the fourth schedulers under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) is continuing.

Under the geo-tagging, the accurate location of a building, including its latitude, longitude, name and distance are documented.

A senior police official said the geo-tagging of seminaries in Rawalpindi, Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal had been completed with the assistance of the Punjab Information Technology Board.

“Hardly there will be any madressah which has not been passed through the geo-tagging process in Punjab,” he said, adding it had become necessary because of the current security situation in the country and the use of young boys by Jihadi outfits for terrorism activities.

The official said besides collecting accurate location of the seminaries, the CTD had been collecting the details of students and teachers in addition to the eligibility and qualifications of the teachers.

“Besides, the CTD also collected data about the involvement of any student in terrorism activities in the past and what they were doing now.”

He said the CTD would prepare separate lists of hardcore elements and the fourth schedulers so that the elements involved in terrorism or sectarian violence and those who had been involved in delivering hate speeches could be separated.

He said hardcore elements were those who had been active members of any banned outfit or had been involved in sectarian violence while individuals placed on the Fourth Schedule included people having sympathies for religious outfits or involved in fundraising for them.

When contacted, Maulana Qazi Abdul Rasheed, the general secretary of Wafaqul Madaris Pakistan, however, expressed ignorance about any geo-tagging of the seminaries.

He said if the government had conducted any such exercise it did not take the administrations of seminaries into confidence. “We have no knowledge about it,” he added.

He said religious scholars had demanded the government simplify the process of registration of seminaries and instead of canceling the old registrations, which had been done under the Societies’ Act 1860, the government should clear all pending cases of registration of mosques and seminaries.

Inspector General of Police (IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera told Dawn that geo-tagging of all the seminaries had already been completed in Punjab.

“The geo-tagging of madressahs was done by the CTD which is also working on individuals placed on the watch list to separate hardcore elements from others,” the IGP said, adding the revisions of watch lists and individuals placed on the Fourth Schedule was an ongoing process.

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