Islamabad: More than a week after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari landed in Ajmer and declared a $1mn donation to the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, there is no clarity about where is the money is coming from: his personal wealth or the state’s coffers, media reported on Monday.
According to reports when asked about the donation, Pakistan’s foreign office threw the ball in Zardari’s court saying, “Only the president can say who will pay the announced amount.”
On the other hand Farhatullah Babar, the president’s spokesman, evaded all questions regarding the donation.
Dargah committee members were quoted saying that the shrine was yet to receive the money – as well as the directions to use it – from the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.
Independent observers have ruled out the possibility of the promised amount coming from the president’s own pocket. “The president has huge discretionary funds at his disposal and the money to the Ajmer shrine will certainly go from his official coffers,” said Faisur Rehman, a political analyst.
Zardari’s visit became controversial, coming as it was on a day an avalanche crushed a Pakistan army camp in Siachen, burying alive 127 soldiers and 11 civilians in the Gyari sector. The president’s critics and right-wing parties blamed him for showing appalling insensitivity to the Gyari tragedy and opting to go on a private visit to India.