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New Islamic year to herald model seminaries in Pakistan

  ISLAMABAD, November 5 (Internews): Three model religious seminaries will
 start functioning in Pakistan from the first of Muharram, the first
 month of the Islamic calendar, under the Pakistan Madrassa (Seminary)
 Education Board.
 "Each class in the seminaries will have 200 students and they will be
 divided in five sections. The duration of the course will be five
 years," Dr S M Zaman, the chairman of the Board announced Monday.
 For admission in the first year, the candidates will need to have
 qualified up to primary level from an ordinary school or completed
 preparatory course in a traditional religious seminary.
 "Moreover, the maximum age limit for a candidate will be 20 years. No
 fee will be charged and the government will provide textbooks besides
 free boarding. The students will be given Rs 500 per month stipend to
 meet their food requirements," Dr Zaman said.
 He said the seminaries, which would be initially established in the Haj
 Camps in Islamabad, Sukkur and Karachi, would produce preachers of
 Muslim unity.
 Describing the opposition by some religious scholars to the
 establishment of such state-run seminaries as unjustified, he said they
 do not want any confrontation with the existing religious schools.
 "Rather we want to benefit from the experiences of the existing
 religious schools and their affiliation with the Board will be allowed,"
 Dr Zaman said. "However, the affiliated schools will have to follow the
 rules and regulations of the Board," he added.
 He said that the model seminaries would not produce doctors or engineers
 and their field of specialisation would be Islamic Shariat. However,
 they would be definitely educated in the other sciences to such an
 extent that they become on a par with ordinary educated people, he
 The model seminaries in Karachi and Sukkur will be meant for male
 students while girls will be admitted in the school in Islamabad.
 According to the ordinance promulgated to constitute the Board, there
 would be 14 members of the Board and its chairman, Dr Zaman, is also the
 chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. -Internews

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