Sunday 11 December 2016

Parents want their children returned to madrassah 'dungeon'

Rob Crilly in Karachi

Published 19/12/2011 | 05:00

BY day they were locked in chains. By night, they were shut in a bare room with dirty mattresses on the floor. A watchman patrolled the madrassah so that no one could escape.

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When police raided the Islamic school on the northern outskirts of Pakistan's largest city Karachi last week they made another shocking discovery: an underground dungeon where teenage drug addicts were beaten and abused.

Yet parents of some of the boys have said that they knew what was going on in the madrassah cellars -- and even approved of the brutal methods they believed were the only way to deal with teenage delinquents.

One claimed to have aided the Madrassah Zakariya's approach.

When Umar Khan took his two sons to the single-storey, whitewashed school, he brought with him two sets of chains and padlocks. "They are young and so naughty. I was worried they would run away. This was to straighten them out for a month," he said.

The madrassah is now closed. Its head teacher is on the run and two members of staff have been arrested. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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