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Pakistan police rescue 45 students chained in seminary

Pakistani police rescued 45 students found chained in the basement during a raid late Monday on an Islamic seminary in the southern port city of Karachi, police said

  • AFP
  • Published: 14:45 December 13, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • A young student cries after being rescued following a police raid on Madrassa Zakarya in Karachi late on December 12, 2011. Pakistani police rescued 45 students found chained in the basement during a raid late December 12 on an Islamic seminary in the southern port city of Karachi, police said. According to government records, there are at least 15,148 seminaries in Pakistan with more than two million students - around five per cent of the 34 million children in formal education.
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Karachi: Pakistani police rescued 45 students found chained in the basement during a raid late Monday on an Islamic seminary in the southern port city of Karachi, police said.

Officers also arrested two clerics at the Madrassa Zakarya in Karachi's central Sohrab Goth area but the head of the seminary managed to escape, police official Mukhtiar Khaskheli told AFP.

Every possibility including its involvement in militancy will be investigated

Sharfuddin Memon, spokesman for home department of Sindh province

"At least 18 of those chained are aged 20 or younger, while the rest are older," Khaskheli said. Some Islamic schools in Pakistan are accused of training militants and supporting violent extremist groups, with some dispatching fighters to neighbouring Afghanistan.

'Drug addicts'

"The madrassa officials claim that they had chained those students because they were drug addicts and they wanted to rehabilitate them and make them better Muslims," the police official said.

Khaskheli said a full scale investigation had been started which would also inquire about any possible links with militants.

"Every possibility including its involvement in militancy will be investigated upon," said Sharfuddin Memon, a spokesman for the home department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital. Memon said the incident highlighted the brutality in society.

Brutalised

"It showed the brutalised aspect of our society and our police's effort was aimed at eradicating that element," he said. Local private Samaa TV showed footage of the madrassa and the chained students, who danced in jubilation as police started to release them.

According to government records, there are at least 15,148 seminaries in Pakistan with more than two million students - around five percent of the 34 million children in formal education.

But officials suspect thousands more go unregistered, providing sons of Pakistan's poverty-stricken majority the only education they can afford.

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