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April 18, 2012

President’s donation

National

April 18, 2012

As a citizen of Pakistan I feel appalled when I think about President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent visit to Ajmer Sharif and subsequent donation of $1 million for a foreign shrine. While I too have all the respect in the world for Sufi traditions and customs, I cannot help but think that spending money on the living is far more important than on the dead. Everywhere else I look all I can see is nauseatingly endless misery and growing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, be it in the daily headlines or in the breaking news bulletins. At home incessant power outages, lines upon lines of cars and motorcycles queuing up to fill their CNG tanks, industry owners closing down their ancestral businesses, and the inability of the ordinary housewife to stock up on basic dry rations makes me wonder – was such a generous donation really worth it? While it may have arguably achieved something for the wider Pak-India bilateral peace track, and possibly even more for our president’s superstitious whims, I think it is a slap in the face of the ordinary men and women of Pakistan who are struggling to make ends meet, and for who even day to day living has become an uphill battle. Perhaps the president has forgotten the value of a million dollars, but for most of us, I think it is safe to say there is a general consensus that it was money foolishly spent. Mr President, a word of advice: next time you’re riding on a cash-flow and feel the need to splurge, you might want to remember that charity begins at home. Mrs. Parveen Abid Rawalpind

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