According to a spokesperson from the Interior Ministry: “The Government of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur, reportedly the headquarters of Jaish-e-Mohammad, and appointed an administrator to manage its affairs.”
Punjab police has taken over security of the campus, the spokesperson added.
Madrassa students in JeM headquarters
A subsequent statement issued by the interior ministry’s spokesperson explained that although Indian media outlets are linking the Bahawalpur complex to a JeM training centre, the facility is “purely a madressah and Jamia Masjid (central mosque) where scores of orphans and students from underprivileged families are receiving religious and worldly education”.
It revealed that Bahawalpur Deputy Commissioner Shozaib Saeed and Bahawalpur SP Saleem Niazi had paid a “surprise visit” to the campus, and surveyed all of its buildings and the facilities provided in them.
According to the statement, the complex provides worldly education until grade 6, and following their secondary and intermediate schooling, students are provided bachelors- and masters-level education leading to Dars-e-Nizami (madressah degree).
A large number of Bahawalpur residents bear the expenses of the madressah through alms and charity, and provide its pupils with rice and grain at no cost.
“The Special Branch [of police], Counter-Terrorism Department and other departments carry out a formal scrutiny of this and other madressahs on a monthly basis,” the ministry’s handout stated.
It said starting today, the Punjab government has taken over the management of the Bahawalpur institution as a “preventive measure”.