Rawalpindi-Former President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday visited renowned and highly influential religious and spiritual scholar, Prof. Ahmad Rafique Akhtar, according to official sources. 

Professor Akhtar, who hails from Gujjar Khan, is well-known in the civil and military circles and many top officials pay frequent visits to get guidance on worldly and spiritual matters. 

The visit by the former president comes at a time when he is ensnared in a corruption investigation by the authorities, and his political party is facing pressure from the ruling political party, especially in Sindh province.  Mr. Zardari is no stranger to taking advice from soothsayers and healers. While serving as the president, Mr. Zardari often made travel times on the advice of his then spiritual healer Pir Mohammad Ejaz. Animals were frequently sacrificed at the presidency whenever Mr. Zardari found himself in a tight political spot.

The visit to the compound of Prof Akhtar, who is the author of several books and has a large following across the country, was unofficial, official sources told The Nation. The compound is known as “Gulpara,” located on the outskirts of Gujjar Khan on the G.T Road. Prof Akhtar is highly educated and very well-spoken both in English and Urdu. He tells his disciples and followers to follow the Quran and gives specific verses to recite.  

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Zardari met Prof Akhtar specifically to discuss his current political travails and whether the spiritual healer offered him any advice.

Prof Akhtar once supported Prime Minister Imran Khan but has recently been critical of the inexperienced team of ministers that Mr. Khan has gathered around.

Mr. Zardari was accompanied by ex-speaker Sindh Assembly Syeda Shehla Raza and scores of other PPP leaders and MPs, sources said.