Pakistan to expel Arab, Afghan students: NYT

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 08:04:50 -0000

NEW YORK, Pakistan is preparing to expel thousands of Arab, Afghan and
other foreign students studying at religious schools across the country
out of concern that their presence might be a step toward possible
militant activities the New York Times said quoting Pakistan government
officials. 
 
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The measure is expected to lead to the expulsion of at least 300 Arabs
and Afghans in what the Pakistani officials described as a first wave.
But within a few months, Pakistani officials told the Times, they
expected to reduce the number of Arab students in Pakistan by at least
7,000, from more than about 17,000 today. 

The plan would also bar new enrolment of foreign students altogether. To
continue studies at a Pakistani religious school, each of the more than
36,000 current foreign students must obtain a formal endorsement from
his home government, according to an interior ministry plan described by
the officials. 

The plan is to be presented next week to President Pervez Musharraf, the
Times said. 

Pakistan is home to more than 6,000 religious institutions, with a total
number of students estimated at more than 600,000. In addition to some
17,000 Arabs students, these include more than 16,000 Afghans and more
that 1,000 other foreigners, senior Pakistani officials told the paper. 

The current plan stems from a promise made in a Jan. 12 speech by
General Musharraf, who said that foreign students at the Madaris who
lacked valid visas or other documents would be deported by March 23
unless they obtained the necessary endorsement of their home countries. 

The officials said that the number of expulsions was likely to soar in
the next few months as checks on the students' backgrounds were
completed, the paper said. At the same time, Pakistan's government
intends to release at least 800 of the 2,000 Pakistani militants
arrested in January as part of a crackdown against extremist groups, the
officials told the paper. 

Source:  Dawn
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