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Tajik Ambassador Says Youth Should Not Study Islam In Pakistan

DUSHANBE -- Tajik Ambassador to Pakistan Zubaidullo Zubaidov says Pakistan should remove Tajikistan from a list of countries that illegally send young people to study in Pakistani schools, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Although Tajik officials say they have curbed the number of Tajiks going to Pakistan to study at madrassahs, or religious schools, they are still concerned that an estimated 300 Tajiks are studying there without permission.

Zubaidov said that the curriculum and living conditions in such schools are not good and it is better for young Tajiks to study at religious schools in Tajikistan.

Davlat Nazriev, chief of the Tajik Foreign Ministry's Information Department, told RFE/RL that most of the Tajik students studying illegally in Pakistan traveled there as tourists and were able to find the means to stay and study.

One young Tajik man told RFE/RL he was sent to a Pakistani madrasah during the Tajik civil war when he was a refugee in Afghanistan and spent five years in very difficult conditions.

Tajik Education Ministry official Vahhobjon Abdulazizov told RFE/RL that this year Tajikistan will officially send just 10 students to Pakistan, and that they will study technical subjects.