Looking back on the life and times of Syed Shah Mardan Shah II (1928-2012).
Pir Pagara (Sindhi: پير پاڳارو) is a title given to the leader of Sunni Muslim Sufi order of Hurs in Sindh province of Pakistan. It comes from the Persian word Pir (Chief) and the Sindhi word ‘Pagara’ meaning: (Chieftain’s Turban). He is dead now.
The Last Pir Pagara was Hazrat Pir Syed Mardan Shah II who passed away on 10 Jan 2012. Born in Pir Jo Goth, Sindh in 1928, Pir Pagara spent a major part of his life being actively engaged in Pakistan’s politics. His father Hazrat Pir Syed Sibghatullah Shah II was hanged on 20 March 1943 by the British colonial government during his struggle against British Colonial Rule.
After the defeat of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah by Ayub Khan in Presidential run, Mohtarma declared the Muslim League as Functional and made Pir Pagaro the head of this Faction of Muslim League.
Pir Pagara breathed his last at the age of 83 in London on 10 Jan 2012. He was the spiritual leader of Hurs and president of political party Muslim League (Functional).
Pir Pagara was taken to a hospital in London for treatment after suffering from an infection following his surgery in Karachi a few days ago.
The Original Name of Pir Pagaro is Shah Mardan Shah II is a political leader Leader of Hurs in Pakistan from the province of Sindh. He is the fourth Pir Pagara, The Word Pir Pagara is the title given to the leader of Sunni Muslim Sufi order of Hurs in Sindh province of Pakistan. It comes from Persian word Pir (Chief) and Sindhi word Pagara (Chieftain’s Turban). The turban that Pir Pagaro’s used to adorn was thought to belong to Prophet Muhammad.
He was born in December 22, 1928 in his native village in Sindh named Pir jo Goth (The Pir’s Village) after his family. He became Pir Pagaro in 1954 after his father Pir Syed Sabghatullah Shah Pagaro was hanged on 20 March, 1943 by the British colonial government after armed uprising of Hurs.
He had his primary education at pir Jo Goth.some time at Karachi when he was under house arrest from 1946 he got his education at Aligarh.In Aligarh Kazi Sadrruddin a prosecuting Inspector Police used to teach Quran. From 1946 to 1952 in Liver pool [England] in Major Davis school. He had his graduation from England.There were only 12-13 students in this school all from foreign countries belonging to those families who opposed British rule in their countries. In this school he had no choose of subjects, but to study whatever administration said. He was forced to study a Christianity subject of Divinity to Learn French and Latin.
In 1949 Prime Minister Liaqut Ali Khan met him in England and assured of restoration of Status of Pir Pagara On 4th February 1952 his status of pir Pagara was officially restored and Dasterbandi was done.
When in 1967 gang of Karo Machi Dacoit played havoc in Sindh & Government was unable to control the Dacoits Pir Sahib ordered his followers to crush the Dacoits and maintain peach. The Hurs fought against the Dacoits and crushed them and maintained peace. Again in 1969 an other gang of Abbas Katohar dacoit snatched the peach of people of Sindh, The Hurs on order of Pir sahib crushed Abbas katohar’s gang also and maintained peach. It is for the above services of Pir Sahib that he is called as Mohsin-e-Millat. In 1970 Pir sahib got a new paper “States man” published from Karachi whose Editor was Awais.
On the political side he is known as the “King Maker” as many people who had his political blessings came into power. Most notably his Hur disciple Mohammed Khan Junejo who became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Pir Pagara was taken to a hospital in London for treatment after suffering from an infection following his surgery in Karachi a few days ago. Pir Pagara breathed his last at the age of 83 on Tuesday 10th of January 2012.
Holders of the title Pir Pagara include:
- Pir Rozeh Dhani
- Pir Tajar Dhani
- Pir Mafaay Dhani
- Pir Banglay Dhani
- Pir Kot Dhani
- Soreh Badshah (Sibghatullah II) (1921–1943)
- Pir Pagara (1928-2012)
Pir Sahabis one of the most influential, and respected leader of Sindh. 10 January, 2012 Exclusive news, Pir Pagaro died in London.
Pakistan’s elder statesman, spiritual leader of the Hur tribe in Sindh, and head of the Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), Pagara had been flown from Karachi, on Jan. 5, to care in London, where he passed away, after it was discovered that he had smoked away his lungs. He was 83.
Called Pir Pagara in Sindhi, the politician-cum-saint traced his bloodline to Islam’s Prophet, whose turban (pagaro) he inherited. Pagara was born in his ancestral village of Pir Jo Goth near Sukkur in 1928, his spiritual writ running from Sanghar to Ghotki, near the Punjab border.
His father, Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi, had revolted against the British Raj with an armed uprising of his Hur tribesmen and was executed for terrorism in 1943, his body arguably disposed of in the Indian Ocean—like that of Osama bin Laden’s. Pagara and his brother were first exiled from Sindh within India, at Aligarh, and then taken to England to avoid another Hur disturbance for the British. After Independence, Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first prime minister, finally reclaimed him from Liverpool.
Pagara was soon attracted to the Muslim League and was underestimated as a powerful man of Sindh by his contemporaries, at their own cost. He had millions of disciples in interior Sindh who were armed to the teeth and lived only to seek his pleasure, eating crystal sugar touched by his hand for their health and good fortune. In 1965, pitted unequally against India, the Pakistan Army needed paramilitary help. Pagara obliged by supplying his disciple army of 20,000 in that war and in later conflicts, thus giving himself the GHQ connection he never tried to conceal.
The power he had, supervising national politics over the last half century, is familiar today. It was based on the sharing of the territorial writ as well as the monopoly of violence of the state, more or less like the nonstate actors of later times whose leaders too enjoy immunity from the normal political vicissitudes of life. But Pagara had the politesse of the prototype Sindhi: courteous, nonthreatening through avoidance of conflict, and posing as equal even with those decidedly his inferiors. The Sindhi noblesse oblige contrasts with the Baloch custom of sayal, or social peer, requiring the use of insult to establish tribal superiority. After Zulfikar Ali Bhutto violated this law of Sindhi politesse, Pagara formally became his rival. (Bhutto’s son-in-law President Asif Ali Zardari tried a patch-up, much facilitated by the fact that an aunt of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was married to Pagara. And one of Gilani’s sons is also married to Pagara’s granddaughter.)
The Pir Pagara version of the rivalry with Bhutto goes like this: Bhutto had returned from England more or less at the same time as him and was getting a social leg-up in the Sindhi power game under the tutelage of politician and intellectual Pir Ali Muhammad Rashidi. Bhutto was introduced to Pagara as a young lawyer with no practice, which Pagara redressed by directing his disciple litigants to the young Bhutto. He invested in Bhutto further by introducing him to Pakistan’s first president, Iskander Mirza, who sent him to the U.N. with a government delegation. Soon, Bhutto got to Gen. Ayub Khan through Mirza and joined his martial-law government.
Pakistan Muslim League adjusts to military rulers by splintering—each splinter death-resistant until one splinter detaches itself like a leg of the eight-legged octopus and disappears into the vast ocean of Pakistan’s political oblivion. It adjusted to Ayub. Then, when it adjusted to Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, Pagara was its president, and the vendetta with Bhutto had ripened over the post-1971 separation of East Pakistan which saw Bhutto as a martial-law administrator for some time. Bhutto’s turbulent rule was full of threats to his rivals, including Pagara, from the vantage point of his two-thirds majority in Parliament, supplemented by such constitutionally dubious, coercive police outfits as the Federal Security Force. Pagara first led the United Democratic Front against him in 1973, then the Pakistan National Alliance formed to parlay with Bhutto until Zia overthrew his government and hanged him in 1979, partly on the advice of Pagara.
Pagara got even with Bhutto but maintained his Sindhi noblesse oblige. He cooperated with Gen. Pervez Musharraf while the Bhuttos’ Pakistan Peoples Party was in the wilderness. Today, his PMLF has a mere four seats in the National Assembly and eight in the Sindh Assembly and is cooperating with Zardari instead of taking him on. (Zardari gracefully offered to transport him abroad for treatment during Pagara’s last illness.) Pagara’s disciples, who showered money on him in return for his benign surveillance over their welfare, thought him clairvoyant, which he took in his stride and used as a part of his political panache. There was humor in his political crystal-ball readings. And he didn’t spare the “state-empowered” religious parties that usually scare off most politicians.
He was a deflator par excellence in a Pakistan harassed by the braggadocio of intellectually sterile politicians. In 2004, when the clerical alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal was dominant under Musharraf, he produced his usual nugget: Khabrainquoted him as saying that the MMA was like ablution before prayer which could break any time. (Ablution becomes null and void if one breaks wind.) He was capable of more sustained political allegory. To Nawa-i-Waqt, he once complained that he had eaten the extremely sweet condiment of the MQM, was stricken with stomach pangs, and was forced to refer the matter to an Army hospital in Islamabad which took care of him and the dysentery was about to subside. Pagara said he was looking for stomach medicine from Gen. Naseerullah Babar, retired, to safeguard his guts from the offerings of the MQM. It was doubtful if the Army hospital would be able to cure the dysentery of Pagara since it was not able to cure its own in Wana.
It goes to Pagara’s credit that he never reacted to the wags who dared to match wits with him. At 80-plus he married a young wife and was able to sire twins from her in short order, miraculously coinciding with the birth of a baby by his son’s wife. Punning on his party’s name, observers marveled at his capacity to remain personally “functional.” He was at the center of national politics at Kingri, his residence in Karachi, with politicians humbly soliciting his mediation after bouts of internecine intrigue. Had he lived, he could have bound the leg-shedding octopus of the Muslim League. The challenge of the PPP was no longer a vendetta for Pagara because Zardari shared with him the Sindhi politesse as well as the Sindhi capacity to survive enmity.