The 8th Pir Pagaro: After night-long session, Hur Jamaat selects Raja Saeen

Published: January 12, 2012

Pir Pagaro VIII arriving for the Namaz-e-Janaza of his father, Shah Mardan Shah. And top, the Hur mourners at the dargah sharif of Khanka-e-Rashdia, where all the Pagaros are buried. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Pir Pagaro VIII arriving for the Namaz-e-Janaza of his father, Shah Mardan Shah. And top, the Hur mourners at the dargah sharif of Khanka-e-Rashdia, where all the Pagaros are buried. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Pir Pagaro VIII arriving for the Namaz-e-Janaza of his father, Shah Mardan Shah. And top, the Hur mourners at the dargah sharif of Khanka-e-Rashdia, where all the Pagaros are buried. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi dabs his eyes with a handkerchief during the dastaar bandi ceremony.
The dargah in Pir Jo Goth. PHOTO: FILE

PIR JO GOTH/KARACHI: It was after a night-long, tiring session that 15 elders of the Hur Jamaat, commonly known as Khalifas, ruled in favour of Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, declaring him the spiritual and temporal successor of Shah Mardan Shah, Pir Pagara the Seventh.

Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi alias Raja Saeen, the eldest son Shah Mardan Shah, was one of three aspirants for the elevated position. Sadruddin Shah alias Younus Saeen and Ali Gohar Shah were the two other sons of Mardan Shah, who were also considered but disfavoured by the secretive electoral college.

Custom demanded that there has to be a Pir Pagara on the seat before the deceased Pir Pagara is consigned to his eternal resting place. The 15 elders of the Hur Jamaat, including chief Fakir Qadir Bux Mangrio and Fakir Ghazi Khan, who had come from India, therefore went into a closed-door session Wednesday night that continued till noon on Thursday.

Others who attended the session included Faqir Basit, Ahmed Saleh Mahar, Waryam Faqir Khaskheli, Pir Bux Ghaho, Ahmed Faqir Rajar, Mir Muhammad Raho, Abdul Salam Dahri, Lal Bux Ahmendani, Mufti Muhammad, Rahim Khoso, Muhammad Rahim Hingoro, Wali Muhammad Panhwar, Soomar Faqir Mahar and Abdul Khaliq Sanjrani.

And it was a little before the funeral prayers of the late Pir Pagara that these elders announced their decision and Sibghatullah was asked to occupy the holy seat as Pir Pagara the Eighth in the hall of the seminary. Then the process of the dastar bandi started with the Pir of Jhang, Sharif Syed Siraj Ahmed Jillani, who raised his hand to girt the long turban on his head. The others, including the two younger brothers and other prominent heads of other mystical orders joined in to give a turn to the turban as a mark of respect and allegiance.

The newly elected Pir Pagara VIII, Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, 55, started his political career during the era of General Ziaul Haq when he was elected an MPA in the non-party elections of 1985. He was elected to the Sindh Assembly two other times. He also served as minister for irrigation, works and services in the Sindh government.

In the 1988 elections, he was defeated on his home seat of Pir jo Goth but was elected from Sanghar. Pir Ali Taqi Shah, the younger son of Ghulam Qadir Shah Jillani, who was considered a rival of Pir Pagara, won the seat on a Pakistan Peoples Party ticket. However, in the 1990 election, Raja Saeen managed to secure his Pir jo Goth seat by defeating PPP candidate Rahim Bux Wasan, the elder brother of Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan.

Raja Saeen was, however, asked by the Hur Jamaat to dissociate himself from politics and concentrate more on the affairs of the Jamaat. Later he went to the UAE and stayed there till 2007 when he was again appointed a minister in the provincial caretaker set-up.

He married a cousin of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. But when his father (Pir Pagaro) divorced his first wife in 1992, Raja Saeen had no choice, but to break his marriage. It was done following a decision of the Jamaat. His second wife is from an Arab family of the UAE.

He has four sons and two of them – Pir Rashid Shah and Umar Shah – are active in local politics.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • Megatron
    Jan 12, 2012 - 2:07PM

    New pirpagara for what ???

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  • Kafka
    Jan 12, 2012 - 2:35PM

    long live the Pir. Recommend

  • adeel759
    Jan 12, 2012 - 2:58PM

    Good wishes for Raja Saen.

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  • Muhammad Mohsin Latif
    Jan 12, 2012 - 4:19PM

    …May Allah bless the departed soul and bless us all to understand the true spirit of religion! May we stay away from ‘Biddah’ and keep our heads down for Allah almighty only. “Iyya Ka Naubu Du Wa Iyyaka Nastaeen”((Oh Lord Allah) We worship you only and seek help from you).

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  • correct option
    Jan 12, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Rest in Peace.

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  • AWA
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:00PM

    All hail for the Raja Saien

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  • M. Ahmed
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:35PM

    Second last para of the story, second line has Sukkur Airport. Please add the word “t” in airport. Must have been a rush story. Thanks.

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  • omer
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:39PM

    PM’s helicopter used ? why ? in what capacity ? who paid ?

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  • Saqib
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:51PM

    @omer

    U paid, I paid and all those who’re wishing luck to the new guy paid……………. U & I realized, while others did not!

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  • Mirza
    Jan 12, 2012 - 7:28PM

    Another Pir, this is what Pakistan really needs. Hereditary politics is bad but Piri is great! Where are the critics of politics and not Piri? Another opportunity for political parties to land a great pir.

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  • Shahid
    Jan 12, 2012 - 7:30PM

    One hopes these piri /muridi exploitation should end by now. This is nothing but exploiting innocent people on the name of religion. All human beings are equal. There is no need to respect any one except because of goodness of a person.

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  • Pakistani Canadian
    Jan 12, 2012 - 7:34PM

    @omer:

    Who paid? Is that a trick question? Barely 1% of the population of Pakistan pays taxes. But clearly they aren’t enough to meet all the expenditures of the country. So, it’s likely that WB/IMF/etc loans paid for this. Which in effect means that future generations paid for it.

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  • Shahzad S. Janjua
    Jan 12, 2012 - 8:02PM

    I really like to know the philosophy of this piri !!!Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jan 12, 2012 - 8:20PM

    @ Pakistani Canadian, Last year government collected Rs.1550 Billion in taxes. This amount was paid by Pakistanis and you say barely 1% of them pay. We all pay taxes, though they are hidden or indirect taxes but still taxes and public pays them. If tax system is corrupt and method is not right, its not the fault of people. Please do not blame general public, people do their job, its government officials who are dishonest and to hide their guilt they blame common citizens.

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  • Pakistani Canadian
    Jan 12, 2012 - 9:36PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:

    Excellent!!! And what was Pakistan’s GDP in the same year? Let me help you out. The nominal GDP in 2011 was $210.9 billion. Your figure of Rs. 1550 Billion does not even translate into 10% of the GDP. Not only is Pakistan’s tax revenue contribution to GDP the lowest amongst the world, it is worse than many countries in Africa. AFRICA!!! So pat yourself on the back all you want my good man, but that figure you present should make you drown yourself in shame. And honestly, it is high time we as a nation stop passing the blame onto the next person. Sure the politicians are corrupt. Sure the system is corrupt. But so is the common man in Pakistan. The only way to erradicate corruption from the country is not by electing some idiot who thinks he has all the solutions to our problems, but to own up to our own invidivual corruption first.

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  • Mirza
    Jan 12, 2012 - 9:55PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    @Pakistani Canadian:
    Great points. And most Pakistanis think that one man (even Imran Khan) would descend and take care of all the corruption and problems. Unless I stop adding water in milk, fake baby drugs, pay taxes stop stealing water and power, cheation in exams nothing can happen. Thanks a lot for making sense,
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • Jan 12, 2012 - 10:25PM

    I congratulate Raja Sain on becoming Pir Pagar after the sad demise of his beloved father Shah Mardan Sha-II.

    May Al-Mighty Allah rest his soul in peace.

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  • not so divine
    Jan 12, 2012 - 10:32PM

    @Syed A. Mateen:
    “I congratulate Raja Sain on becoming Pir Pagar after the sad demise of his beloved father Shah Mardan Sha-II.”

    It’s bit odd to congratulate someone on their father’s death. He would not have become gadhinasheen if his father had not passed away.
    Pakistan is truly a strange land!

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  • Jan 12, 2012 - 10:46PM

    @Not so divine:

    The process was that first the next Pir Paraga (Raja Sain) was nominated with consensus and then the funeral prayers of Late Shah Mardan Shah-II was offered.

    I have in a separate statement had already condole the death of the Late Pir Sain Pagara.

    Though I was not at Pir Jo Goth to offer my condolences with the bereaved family members, but after the Dastarbandi of Raja Sain, I have congratulated him on becoming the next Pir Sain Pagara.

    You kindly read the history of the Hurs and their contribution towards Pakistan and criticize as why I have congratulated Raja Sain after the death of his beloved father.

    Every one has to leave the country and it is always the eldest son who become next responsible person after the head of the family passes away.

    It is not only a matter of our culture but also the tradition in Pakistan. Since cannot make out from your name whether you are a Pakistani or not, that is one of the reason’s that I have elaborated my views on your comments.

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  • Mohammad Akram
    Jan 13, 2012 - 12:46AM

    prior to commenting on Pir Pagara , kindly keep in mind he was kind, he was jolly person , he was sportsman and on top of all
    he was the only person who remain 100% loyal to pakistan he never used sindhi card.Recommend

  • JR
    Jan 13, 2012 - 7:30AM

    There should be dislike button also to dislike or like the news.
    Any way, I dislike it!

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  • Shakky
    Jan 13, 2012 - 8:57PM

    What exactly makes the Pir Pagara so special?

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  • Jan 13, 2012 - 10:12PM

    Pir Pagara may be an eccentric person for urban men and women. But he is a Pir of his nation and for countless mureeds. I also, being from Karachi, cannot understand people’s love for their Pirs, people who are not religious in the orthodox meaning of the term but claim descent from some great Saint. Shah Mahmood Querishi is another good example of a person who is not religious in the orthodox meaning but nevertheless has a powerful hold over his mureeds.

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  • DR.ABDUL AHAD PANHWAR
    Jan 13, 2012 - 10:29PM

    he was very kind to his mureed his villagers and surroundings nd sind nd pakistan .very very against theif nd dacoits.very hamble sympathatic to each who meets him .he had strong humenetarian values strong memory, very quick replyer. i didnot seen such qualities in any body even did not read in books of such calibre.

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  • Jan 14, 2012 - 4:05AM

    He married a cousin of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. But when his father (Pir Pagaro) divorced his first wife in 1992, Raja Saeen had no choice, but to break his marriage. It was done following a decision of the Jamaat.

    Find this part weird.

    Why did Raja Saeen have no choice and break his marriage based on his father’s divorce, decided by a Jamaat?

    Kind of taking ‘like father like son’ literally, where one gets a divorce the other has to too…?!

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  • AHMED BILAL
    Jan 15, 2012 - 9:54PM

    May almighty Allah rest his soul eternal peace. Ameen. Of course Big loss of the nation and big loss of HUR but all of us will see the 8th PIR PAGARA grand son of SOREH BADSHAHs’ . You kindly read the history of the Hurs and their contribution towards Pakistan and Sindh

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