Pakistan's former president, Asif Ali Zardari, has come out strongly against cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan for playing a lead role in allocating 300 million Pakistani rupees to the Nowshera-based Darul Uloom Haqqania, also known as the University of Jihad.
In a sharply worded rebuke, Zardari said this move by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led KPK Government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, whose leader is Imran Khan, is nothing but a direct handout to terrorists and militants who are attacking the civilisation.
In his statement, former president Zardari said, "This is nothing but legitimisation of militancy and the Taliban that will undermine the nation's resolve to fight the militants to the finish."
Zardari directly accused Imran of funding terrorism when he said in his statement that "These resources should have been spent on human development. Instead, they are being spent on a seminary whose claim to fame lies in its promotion of militant Islam and the world view of Islamic militants."
Zardari's attack on Imran Khan is unprecedented as the former Pakistan president has virtually accused him of being a sponsor of global terrorism. His statement further said, "That it should have happened around the time when a group of the militant Taliban claimed responsibility for the target killing of Sabri Qawwal in Karachi makes it all the more poignant."
Zardari reminded Imran that during the government-TTP talks in 2014, the Taliban had named the head of this seminary to negotiate on their behalf, thus exposing the true nature of this seminary.
The former Pakistan president went on to say, "It is widely known that a number of militant Taliban leaders have been students of this seminary", known as the global University of Jihad.
Observers in Pakistan are saying that Imran Khan is openly funding Taliban militants as an insurance policy to protect his party against Taliban attacks in parliamentary elections which are a year or so away.
In the last elections, the Taliban had crippled the Pakistan People's Party and the Awami National Party of KPK.
Both of these parties could not campaign,and hence, lost the elections badly.
Imran Khan is buying peace with the Taliban so that his party is not targeted in the next parliamentary elections.