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Man denied access to ‘brainwashed’ daughter

Man denied access to ‘brainwashed’ daughter

ISLAMABAD: The father of a 26-year-old Jamia Hafsa student, who has not seen his daughter for the past seven months, joined civil society activists on Monday in the ongoing protests against the chief cleric of Lal Masjid.
Standing right in the middle of the protesters outside Aabpara Police Station, Sheikh Mohammad Qayum, 59, from the Sadiqabad area of Rawalpindi, narrated how his daughter was enlisted in the seminary without her parents’ consent and was later brainwashed to the extent that now she outright refused to return to her family.
Qayum is a younger brother of Muhammad Nazir (also known as Nazir Junior), a former cricket team Pakistan off-spinner turned international umpire.
“It’s been seven months since I last saw my daughter in the presence of Abdul Aziz,” Qayum said.
He said her daughter graduated from a local college for women before registering with a nearby seminary, Madrassa Rozatul Quran (MRQ), for a four-year Sharia programme.
“I allowed her to join it (MRQ), as my whole is very religious,” Qayum said, adding that two of his sons had memorised the Quran by heart and taught religious courses.
He said that one day he was informed by the MRQ administration that his daughter had moved to Jamia Hafsa, a seminary for female students affiliated with Lal Masjid.
“She did not inform us about her decision,” Qayum said.
“As soon as I got the news, my family contacted her friends at MRQ. They told us that Umme Hassan (Aziz’s wife) was in contact with Uzma for the past year and had persuaded her to join Jamia Hafsa,” he said.
“I went to Jamia Hafsa, where the administration only allowed me to meet my daughter in the presence of Aziz,” Qayum said, adding he was astonished during the meeting when his daughter refused to return home, saying that the environment of his house was not in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
“I asked Aziz to allow my daughter to return home as she had joined the seminary without his consent, but he outright refused,” he said.
A number of similar attempts were made by Qayum’s wife, but in vein. “I was denied access to my daughter after the first meeting. My wife is allowed to meet her at the seminary, but only in the presence of the administration of the seminary,” Qayum said.
Mohammad Imran, who is Uzma’s fiancé, was standing next to Qayum.
According to Imran, the seminary administration had brainwashed Uzma to the extent that she now she says that Jamia Hafsa was her home and that she would not feel secure living anywhere else.
“A few months back, we lodged separate applications to get her back with the Aabpara and Sadiqabad police stations, but the police are reluctant to raid Jamia Hafsa and recover her,” he said.
Imran said that on one occasion, members of their family tried to convince Uzma to return, but the seminary administration manhandled and threatened them with dire consequences. He said that one of the seminary staff also hit him with a Kalashnikov butt.
Imran said Uzma was not alone as there were a number of other girls who had been brainwashed and were now refusing to return to their families.
Aziz was not available for comment despite several attempts to reach him.
Express Tribune

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