Pakistan’s vows to implement a massive overhaul of its religious-oriented educational system — aimed at rooting out the teaching of intolerance and militancy — have stalled because of resistance from mullahs and schoolmasters who often operate with funding from Saudi and Persian Gulf charities.
In the North-West Frontier Province, for instance, Fazul Haq, a wizened headmaster and a senior leader in a well-known movement to impose strict Islamic law, boasts openly about Taliban fighters who regularly give sermons to his young male students.
“We don’t have to lecture anyone,” he said in a recent interview. “Instead of us lecturing them, the talibs lecture us. They are going to Afghanistan and they are fighting, and then they come back and deliver lectures about the virtues of Osama bin Laden.”
Mr. Haq, who was surrounded by dozens of students, also boasted of his ties to rogue elements within Pakistan’s intelligence services. He vowed that any “American spy” caught by his students would be “beheaded” — to the nods of his young pupils.