PAKISTANI MADRASAS AND RURAL UNDERDEVELOPMENT: An empirical study of Ahmedpur East
Islamic educational institutions have come under intense public scrutiny in recent years because of their perceived link to militancy. However, much of the research thus far has relied upon anecdotal accounts and investigative journalism, rather than rigorous social science. This study acknowledges and respects that madrasas are a vital institution in Islam and indeed in many cases even nonMuslims have sent their children to madrasas because of the high quality of education (such as those in West Bengal, India). However, Pakistani madrasas have endured much interference from various sources that have led to certain differences in operational style and function as compared to their historical predecessors. The aim of this chapter is to bring integrative and objective clarity to the issue – moving away from the propagandist negative accounts about madrasas as well as the revisionist positive accounts or diminution of their impact on Pakistani society. Madrasas do indeed have a significant impact on Pakistani society – both positive and negative. This study aims to provide an empirically grounded analysis of madrasas in Pakistan, thereby informing the larger discussion of the role of Islamic education in conflict causality.