Millennium Post

Zardari's donation remains all talk

Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari's one-million-dollar donation to Khwaja's Moinuddin Chishti's shrine at Ajmer, has turned out to be just an announcement with not a single penny being received either by the management of the shrine or khadims (those who help worshipers offer prayers).

The fact that one million dollar was not delivered to the dargah till 8 May, exactly a month after the announcement was made by president Zardar at Ajmer on 8 April, has been revealed to a regular visitor Rajnish Khosla from Punjab in reply to an RTI application.

The RTI reply to Khosla from central public information officer of the Dargah Committee, Dargah Khwaja Sahib, Ajmer, reads on May 8, 'Till the writing of this letter, we have not received any money from His Excellency President Republic of Pakistan as announced by H.E. on dated 8 April 2012'.

Sources in the Union government seeking anonymity, also said, 'President Zardari merely made a verbal announcement in front of members of the management committee and khadims, but no written communication was received either by the dargah committee or the government regarding the one million dollar donation'.

The announcement had also sparked off a debate in Pakistan where netizens had raised the question if the donation was made from Zardari's personal income or from the government exchequer saying, 'The money should have been spent on the poor of Pakistan'.

The donation was stated to be the biggest ever financial contribution made by a head of the state. The donation, however, led to a speculation on who should get the money - the dargah management or khadims who claim to be the custodians of the 13th century mausoleum of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer.

The money donated was considered to be meant for upkeep and development of the dargah complex but khadims have been laying claims on donations earlier.
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