Protecting the Public

Government is cracking down on a series risk to the public. The Supreme Court has directed government at all levels to take action against sheesha cafes and to work to prevent smoking. Actions have already begun in the capital city, where Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration has sealed cafes and shops and imposed fines after making surprise visits and finding illegal activities. This is an important step to protecting the public health and strengthening law and order.

However, there is another danger to the public that is being ignored by the government. While all levels of government are busy taking action against the danger of smoking, the danger of extremist madrassahs is being ignored completely.

Even after 10 months of the announcement of NAP, the federal government has failed to start the process of registration of madrassas throughout the country, a basic point to introduce reforms in seminaries. According to rough figures collected by the Ministry of Interior, around 30 million students study in 18,000 madrassas in the country that are being run under Ittehad-e-Tanzeematul Madaris (ITM), a body of madrassas representing five major schools of thought.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claims that a committee having representatives of ITM and the departments concerned had been formed to finalize a registration form of seminaries. As expected, there has been no progress on it. This was literally the first step to the whole process.

Smoking is a danger to public health, and it is encouraging that government is taking the danger seriously and taking immediate action to protect people. Is sheesha a greater danger than extremism? Why is government taking immediate and wide spread action against sheesha cafes, but doing nothing about extremist and unregulated madrassahs? The appearance is that when it comes to protecting the public, government is only willing to do what is easy but not to do what is difficult.

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