Teens to be freed from Pakistan madrassa

July 8, 2008 at 3:35 PM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 8 (UPI) -- A Texas congressman says Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has promised to obtain the release of two U.S. teenagers being held in a madrassa.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex., says the two boys, identified as Noor Elahi Khan, 17, and Mahboob Elahi Khan, 16, of Atlanta, are being held against their will at the Jamia Binoria Institute in Karachi, which McCaul says is one of the most radical madrassas, or Islamic schools, in Pakistan.

The lack of exit visas issued by the Pakistani government are holding up their departure, he said, alleging that the students -- U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent -- are caught in the middle of a power struggle between the militant Islamic leaders of the madrassa and pro-Western government leaders.

McCaul met with Musharraf July 4 and said the president assured him the teens would be released, adding that the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan gave similar assurances.

McCaul said that after the meeting, Pakistan's new government announced it would continue Musharraf's policy of reforming the madrassas, including expulsion of foreign students, control of their funding and standardization of their curricula.

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