More than 100 Afghan students detained in madrasa crackdown

There was no confirmation if the seminary had links to extremism. Photograph:( Getty )

WION Balochistan, Pakistan Aug 29, 2016, 01.40 PM (IST)
As many as 106 Afghan teenage students were detained by Pakistan authorities today as part of a government crackdown on illegal madrasas (seminary) in the country. 

The students, ranging between 14 and 18 years of age, were held because they didn't have permit to to be in the country, authorities said.

"We have sealed the madrasa as it did not have any registration documents," senior police official Nadeem Hussain told AFP.

However, there was no confirmation if the seminary had links with extremist elements.

“A search operation was conducted inside the seminary and the Afghan students were arrested under Foreigners Act,” the Pakistan Observer quoted a security official.

Akbar Harifal, the interior secretary for Balochistan province, confirmed the raid and detentions.

Balochistan interior minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said authorities were taking steps to identify illegal residents in the wake of a suicide bombing at a Quetta hospital that killed at least 70 people earlier this month.

Pakistan had announced to register all seminaries under the 'National Action Plan' in a crackdown against extremism after a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar left more than 140 people dead, most of them children in December 2014.

The government wanted to keep an eye on what was being taught to the hundreds of thousands of children as there were fears that extremist outfits would influence students enrolled in the country's madrassas.

Pakistan is home to 1.5 million registered and about as many undocumented Afghan refugees. Illegal Afghan nationals cross over to Pakistan regularly through the Chaman border post which was closed last week after Afghan protesters pelted stones at the friendship gate checkpoint and burnt a Pakistani flag

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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