Generosity: Zardari pledges $1m to Ajmer shrine

Published: April 9, 2012
This was the first time a Pakistani head of state had visited India since Musharraf in 2005. PHOTO: AFP

This was the first time a Pakistani head of state had visited India since Musharraf in 2005. PHOTO: AFP


President Asif Ali Zardari announced on Sunday a generous donation of $1 million for the upkeep of the shrine of a revered Muslim Sufi saint in western India.

“President Asif Ali Zardari has donated $1 million for Dargah Sharif,” a custodian of the shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti made the announcement on India’s Times Now television.

The shrine is located in Ajmer town, 350 kilometres southwest of New Delhi.

After his luncheon meeting with Premier Manmohan Singh, President Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto flew to Ajmer, put a floral wreath at the shrine, offered prayers and wrote his impressions in the visitors’ book.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by a spiritual joy after visiting the shrine – a joy that I don’t have words to describe,” Zardari wrote, according to the unnamed custodian. “I pray here to Allah Almighty for the whole humanity,” he further wrote.

Earlier the custodians squabbled over who would get the chance of accompanying President Zardari and his family to the shrine.

Tight security was ensured for the visiting Pakistani leader at the shrine.

All the stores catering to devotees situated along a one kilometre-long narrow lane leading to the shrine were shut between 1.30pm and 6pm. Devotees were barred from visiting the shrine from 2pm to 6pm. Vehicular movement around the shrine was halted during the half hour that Zardari spent at the shrine.

Over 3,000 policemen were deployed around the shrine, which is 12 kilometres away from the Ajmer helipad, according to a senior police official. Residents around the neighbourhood of the shrine were made to keep their windows shut while Zardari was in Ajmer.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (51)

  • OH BOY!
    Apr 9, 2012 - 7:19AM

    Well i hope its coming from his own account ans is not a Pakistani Tax payers hard earned money….Id rather give that money to Balochistan for development than develop a shrine.


  • Tariq
    Apr 9, 2012 - 7:23AM

    Hope the million is from his Swiss account not public funds


  • Qaiser K. Ahmed
    Apr 9, 2012 - 7:24AM

    Perhaps he will extend the same generosity to the flood victims of Sind.


  • Mirza
    Apr 9, 2012 - 7:24AM

    It is a great gesture of faith, goodwill and peace. This must make the Wahabi and Salafies really upset. No wonder all of them hate mainstream Muslims.


  • dv sikka
    Apr 9, 2012 - 7:30AM

    Bribing the God to make Bilawal the next President.


  • Thoughtful
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:08AM

    No queue to visit Deband


  • atif
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:15AM

    why can not he donate this to poor at home.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:18AM

    From the pocket of pakistan…?


  • Mirza
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:23AM

    Even when the president performs pilgrimage the hatred does not stop. According to Quranic teachings it is God who gives the honor and who bestows dishonor and nobody else has the power to do that. Some people are liked and elected by the people and some never get that chance or honor. No amount of hatred and extremism can change the will of the people.


  • raw is war
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:32AM

    good deed indeed.


  • Baby ka Husband
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:46AM

    Even with this news you cannot hide your animosity for everyone else in Pakistan except Zardari, PPP and his clan. Shame on you.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Apr 9, 2012 - 8:53AM

    I challenge Dr. Singh to make a comparable donation towards the upkeep of those Hindu temples that still stand in Pakistan.


  • altaf raja
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:00AM

    True to his faith. allah bless him abundantly.Recommend

  • Gul Khan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:11AM

    @dv sikka:
    It is not bribing the God, but the Indian Government.


  • Pakistani first
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:27AM

    My house is also a shrine. Can you please visit it Mr. President?


  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:36AM

    Much the best,excellent,most effective and most impressive way of converting the corrupted and black money into white money.If this these $1m were Zardari’s own then no problem and if these $1m were the poor Pakistani nation’s then this matters.This donation shows and proves that Zaradri has millions of $$$$$$$$ but only for his personal interests not for the nation.This huge sum of money might be spent on thousands of the deserving poor families or natural calamities’ effected people of Pakistan for their real and true welfare and betterment which has been given to a tomb only within 20 minutes.
    Unfortunately PPP’s government has lot of money for such these types of activities but not for the Pakistan’s,its key departments’ and its nation’s welfare,betterment and economic prosperity.


  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:39AM

    This is wastage of money and in Islam building tombs have been prohibited/forbidden/restricted if you read the Sahih Ahadith.


  • anon
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:43AM

    there goes the tax payers money – sigh


  • Adil
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:44AM

    I hope he has millions to donate to the families of the soldiers in the Siachin incident as well.


  • Aik Pakistani
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:50AM

    What kind of President he is? Or Human? People are suffering & dying b/c of hunger. People are still suffering from flood. Even today morning i’ve seen morning show on Hum tv (Jago Pakistan Jago). The Somali pirates have kidnapped a ship for the last 18 months & he is spending our money in India……. ALLAH SWT in hukumrano ko hidayt day aur ihain hamaray sir say dafa karay. For ALLAH sake don’t be so cruel to involve religion/sect in every affair. We Pakistani’s are fighting on language/ sect/province. It’s not a matter of spending money on shrine. It’s matter of life & death for people who are still alive, like you & me.

    A real shameless GOVT. May ALLAH SWT get rid us from these leaders. It’s also our responsibility as well to stop fighting & throw them out of country.


  • Salma Agha
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:50AM

    The money came from the Pakistani taxpayer and has gone to feed the poor in Ajmer and maintain the custodians of the shrine. Balochistan, the earthquake victims in Azad Kashmir and the flood victims in Sindh are not holy enough. The donation has ensured a swift ascent to Heaven for the Zardari family.


  • Haider Hussain
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:52AM

    Has our president gone completely mad?????


  • Haider Hussain
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:56AM

    Zardari should come back to mourn the national tragedy at Siachin


  • Saad Ullah
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:57AM

    Thats like the leaders of a POOR COUNTRY!!
    I wish he would have donated such big amount to deserving people of Pakistan like Edhi, or made a charity hospital or school for people of pakistan! This is a complete waste of money!


  • MAD
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:01AM

    If he feels so generous he should have used those funds to help flood victims. Spending $! MIllion in the Indian economy in any form be it trying to bribe a dead saint is unacceptable.


  • Zaid
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:04AM

    The same wicked smile on his face!


  • Maria
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:30AM

    @Mirza: Why should he give 1 million of the nation’s money to some Indian shrine? Why doesn’t he give all his money to shrines and temples in India?


  • ParvezM
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:38AM

    BISP is spreading to India.


  • Hamid Javaid
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:44AM

    Mr. President. The living poor are dying at home.Is this your priority to cherish the gone one and not to provide a food a day and kill your own living poor. Mr. president we are dying Sir. What a great humane deed. Indeed we are morally dead nation and the deed speaks louder than actions.


  • J
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:55AM

    Not such a big deal since (1) it is a step in improving relations with India which carries great potential benefits for Pakistan and (2) Pakistan should be actively involved in anything that supports the Muslims in India and Islamic culture in general (particularly the non Wahhabi strain). It’s not as if Pakistan has not received support from other countries including the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Iran, Turkey in promoting cultural artefacts and sites.
    What I find objectionable is the presence of Bilawal Bhutto and Rehman Malik. Who paid for them to go to India?


  • Zzzz
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:14AM

    Has he ever donated the same amount to Shah Abdul Latif’s shrine?


  • The Truth
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:16AM

    Why he doesn’t Perform an Umrah instead of going to a shrine?


  • Apr 9, 2012 - 12:04PM

    If Imran Khan had done this, they would have praised him. Since, its Zardari, hence all the criticisms.


  • Khanum
    Apr 9, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Generouse on people,s money.


  • sami akmal
    Apr 9, 2012 - 12:32PM

    1st of all it was a private visit and it was already announced that president family members will accompany him. so, there z no need 2 raise objection on bilawal presence there. 2ndly, as a pakistani from lahore i too own khawaja shahib. He visited data sahib ibn lahore and prayed there 4 40 days before leaving 4 dehli and later 2 ajmair sharif. so, Khawja Ghareeb Nawaz is mine 2. as a taxpayer muself, i dont have any objection on the money donated by president zardari to Ajmeer Dargah. rather, i would thank him 4 that. B/c i dont know whether i would b able 2 visit the site in my life or not but atleast i have donated something 4 a noble cause.


  • hussain
    Apr 9, 2012 - 12:36PM

    The real question is not about the donation but about the entire trip itself. Did the tax payers foot the bill?


  • hussain
    Apr 9, 2012 - 12:50PM

    Has zardari paid taxes on that income?? probably not


  • Ahsan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 1:19PM

    Khawaja sahab’s soul will be in great pain after receiving Zardari’s money…


  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Noble gesture which should be appreciated! Hope Khawaja Ajmer’s blessings might bring some happiness to this unfortunate country. But deeds & actions need to be changed. Blessings & Actions go hand in hand.


  • Apr 9, 2012 - 2:04PM

    The govt should give public evidence of USD 1M outflow from presidents personal account. This is the job of media to ensure a track in kept on this payment. One more thing, how noble the cause, we are not in position of doing this while the poors suffer in our own country. Charity begins at home.


  • ZYZE
    Apr 9, 2012 - 3:00PM

    Apnay paisa say to aik waqt kee roti bhee nahi khatay , hamaray President Sahab.

    Dont worry, we have to pay this from our pocket, just wait for any new tax or price hike.

    Now , every problem of Pakistan will be solved, becuase he has perform the pilgramge,
    He and his team, will do double corruption, double looting, double enjoyment,……and then he will go to the shirne again and do the pilgramge, and come back as an angel.


  • ishrat salim
    Apr 9, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Khawaja sb will be in pain bcz as a saint he knows what life poor people of pakistan is living & this money will hv no barkat if AAZ thinks so.Recommend

  • elementary
    Apr 9, 2012 - 5:32PM

    Very devious and cunning!This is a small investment which he will of course recover with his next announcement of Price hike. Recommend

  • Apr 9, 2012 - 9:44PM

    glad to read that “Vehicular movement around the shrine was halted during the half hour that Zardari spent at the shrine”. indian people shared the same vip culture and problem as well.


  • Mirza
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:02PM

    @Baby ka Husband:
    Sir, I am only supporting the religious belief of mainstream Muslims in Pakistan and India. My parents and their parents have been doing it for centuries when we were far better humans and Muslims. The good old days when the new faith of Whabi and Salafi was not around.


  • Saad Ullah
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:41AM

    @sami akmal

    I think people shuold grow up and understand what real islam is, rather than blindly following the cultural traditions of subcontinent. will Donating this amount to a dead peson do any good for the society or mankind, or even to Khwaja Sahab himself? This amount could instead be used for good purpose like a charitible hospital or school. Cant understand how will the peer benifit from this money!


  • jai
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:33PM

    If the Pakistani President has that kind of personal finances to throw around, as an Indian, i’d rather he donate it for making some schools in Pakistan to provide a secular science based education to the people of Pakistan. It would do well for all people of the subcontinent even if a few poor Pakistanis are drawn away from fanaticism into more constructive careers and help develop their own country.


  • Dr. Asad Sadick
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:18PM

    With 1 million US the dead Peer is going to help Zardari or Pakistani people? Hope this money comes from his ill-gotten wealth. Had he given it to the poor Pakistanis their prayers might have brought something more for him and his family than those of the dead guy buried at the shrine. What goes round comes around, Mr. President.


  • sami akmal
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:57PM

    @SAAD ULLAH, brother, the donated money will be used 4 charitable purpose as the Khawaja dargah committe looks after orphans and widows, owns a school and offer other services 2 the poor. thats how sufi dargahs work. u need 2 read the articles related 2 presidents donation and where its gonna b spend.


  • ProudPakistani
    Apr 10, 2012 - 3:12PM

    Hardly any Indian would comment here…Not surprised bcoz its Pakistani president donating in India…!!
    They have a lot to speak about negativity but can’t applaud the positive gestures…!!
    Huh Indians..!!


  • iftikhar
    Apr 10, 2012 - 4:12PM

    I have sent comments but not posted. Millions of rupees are collected by aukaf from Chilla ga of Khawaj Ajeer (R.A) every year, if president has donated a small amount to his dargah is not an issue. Its not tax payers money. If president spent from his own pocket then he can be questioned why he is passing less or no taxes. Tax payers need not to worry about money donated to khawaj’s darbar.Recommend

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