The Pakistani government has shut down six unregistered, Iranian-funded schools in the southwestern city of Quetta, officials told RFE/RL on June 13.
Muhammad Zohaib-ul Haq, the assistant commissioner of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, said the privately run schools were closed on June 12 because they were teaching international curricula without being registered with the Private Schools Regulatory Authority, which is not allowed in Pakistan.
“Some questionable religious material” was being taught at the schools, Haq said, adding: “So we acted and closed six Iranian schools in Hazara Town,” an area on the outskirts of Quetta that is predominantly populated by members of the Shi’ite Hazara minority.
Officials said the schools received funds from Iran, as well as tuition fees from the students.
No detentions were made during the crackdown, they said.
RFE/RL contacted the administrators and teachers at the closed schools, but they refused to comment.
The closed educational institutions included three high schools and three middle and primary schools in which hundreds of both boys and girls were enrolled.
The principals and the teachers in the schools were “Iranian citizens,” Haq said, adding that law enforcement agencies were investigating whether their curriculum followed the national guidelines.
The official sent RFE/RL photos that he said were taken in two classrooms and showed portraits of Ayatollah Rohullah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
One picture also showed a religious textbook written in the Persian language.
The authenticity of the photos could be independently verified.
Shi’ite Hazaras in Pakistan have close historic, cultural, and religious ties with both Afghanistan and Iran.