Islamabad—Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday expressed concern and dismay over the allocation of Rs300 million out of public funds to a privately owned seminary in Nowshera.
“Haqqania seminary is known for its links with the militant Taliban,” Zardari said in a statement.
“This is nothing but legitimisation of militancy and the Taliban that will undermine the nation’s resolve to fight militants to the finish.”
He was of the opinion that resources should have been spent on human development instead of a seminary whose claim to fame lies in its promotion of militant Islam.
The former president alleged that the head of the Darul Uloom Haqqania is an acknowledged sympathizer and an undeclared spokesperson of the Taliban.
“Although the National Action Plan calls for disallowing banned outfits from resurrecting, yet they have resurrected and are openly promoting their militant agenda with impunity”, he said and asked “is the revival of the jihadi project by design or by default?”
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan had said Darul Uloom Haqqania agreed to implement reforms in return for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s budget allocation of Rs300 million for the religious seminary.
The seminary, located in Nowshera district and currently run by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami chief Maulana Samiul Haq, has faced controversy in the past as its students have been accused of involvement in the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
However, the seminary administration denied having any connection with the suspects.
The seminary is also said to be the alma mater of many prominent Afghan Taliban leaders.