Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari criticizes funding of Islamic seminary
Islamabad, June 27: Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari hit out at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial government for allocating public funds to a privately-owned Islamic seminary known for “its links with the Taliban and other militant groups”.
The provincial government, led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in its budget for fiscal 2016-17, has set aside Rs. 300 million for the Nowshera-based Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary of Maulana Sami-ul Haq.
“This is nothing but legitimisation of militancy and militant Taliban that will undermine the nation’s resolve to fight militants to the finish,” the Express Tribune quoted him, as saying.
Zardari’s statement was released by his spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar.
Babar said Zardari, also the Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, was deeply concerned over the use of public money for a private seminary which is reportedly known for promoting private jihads.
“The resources should have been spent on human development instead of on a seminary whose claim to fame lies in its promotion of militant Islam and the worldview of Islamic militants,” Zardari said.
Zardari pointed out that the current head of the seminary is an acknowledged sympathiser and undeclared spokesperson of the Taliban.
He was of the opinion that in the wake of Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor’s killing in a U.S. drone strike in Balochistan, it appears that some elements are reviving the ‘jihadi project’.
“Recently, conservative religious parties led by a proscribed organisation held congregations in Islamabad protesting Mullah Mansoor’s death. Now a privately owned pro-Taliban madrassa has been given Rs300 million,” he added.
However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has last week defended the decision to allocate money to the seminary, noting that about 2.2 million students in the province studied in seminaries as compared to 800,000 in English-medium schools.