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Rival bodies lay claim to Zardari's $1-mn donation

india Updated: Apr 11, 2012 23:25 IST
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Hindustan Times
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Two associations affiliated to the shrine of sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti have laid claim to the $1 million donated by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to the dargah on April 8.

One of the competing entities, the Parliament-created Dargah Committee, manages the development of the shrine. On the other hand, Anjuman, a 21-member organisation created by a Rajasthan statute, manages its financial affairs.

"The Dargah Committee is the rightful claimant to the donation by the Pakistan President," said Sohail Ahmed, president of the committee. "The donations given to the dargah are for the benefit of devotees visiting this place," Ahmed said.

He stated that Zardari's intention was evident from his message: "… Allah se dua ki hai ki woh tamam insaniyat ke liye asaniyan paida kare (May Allah make our lives easier)".

"He (Zardari) said that the fund (which amounts to around Rs 5 crore) was meant for the public, and not any individual or section," Ahmed said.

"The list of development projects is long. The most important among them are toilets for women pilgrims, and a place for them to offer namaz on Fridays," he added.

The Anjuman, however, trashed the Dargah committee's claim, stating that the President had never uttered the words "for the welfare of the dargah".

"It was a nazrana (present) and the rightful claimants are the khadims, who perform the ziyarat (prayers), and the Anjuman, which looks after their welfare," said Waheed Angara, secretary, Anjuman.

The first secretary of the Pakistan high commission visited Ajmer on Monday to discuss the disbursement of the donation.