Pakistan police rescue chained students from madrasa
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and New Delhi— Pakistani police rescued about 68 students from an Islamic seminary in Karachi, several of whom were reportedly chained in a basement, denied food and pressured to join the Taliban, officials said Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the students, some as young as 12 and some in their 40s, were subjected to such treatment. But police, who conducted the raid late Monday after a tip from neighbors, told local news media that some of the students were drug addicts sent there by parents or other relatives unaware of the horrible conditions.
TV reports showed boys and men constrained by heavy chains on their ankles. Other shots showed several celebrating after being freed.
“They gave us jihad training,” one of the students told television reporters. “They warned us if we ever tried to escape, we would be severely punished.”
At least two staff members at the Madrasa Zakarya were arrested, although the leader of the seminary in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth neighborhood reportedly escaped. The Interior Ministry has ordered an investigation.
“These young people were chained,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters. “They were brainwashed. The aggression these people felt toward society, other people, you can’t expect them to feel particularly positive.”