Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri has apologised to Pir Pagaro for “any hurt caused to him due to any misunderstanding”, the latest twist in a week-long saga that has seen the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) threaten to resign.
On April 27, Marri had referred to the late Pir Pagaro VII as someone close to the military (a claim the late leader would often make himself) and said he had ‘betrayed democracy’. Marri made the comment in her regular post-Sindh Assembly briefing as she responded to allegations levelled by PML-F MPA Marvi Rashdi on PPP minister Pir Mazharul Haq.
In a statement sent to The Express Tribune, Marri said ‘that she recalled talking about past practices of politicians who teamed up with agencies or generals but did not use any bad language for Pir
Sahib Pagara Shah Mardan Shah II’. While she has offered an apology – buried deep within the statement – Marri now says she has been falsely accused by PML-F Secretary-General Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh. “I am amazed at Imtiaz Shaikh’s false allegation of using derogatory remarks against Shah Mardan Shah II and the way he is doing so,” Marri is quoted as saying in the statement.
At a press conference on May 2, Shaikh had asked for Marri to apologise, a demand reiterated by Rashdi the next day. The party also announced that it will boycott the Sindh Assembly sittings until Marri apologises.
Marri said it was ‘sad’ that “an individual is trying to create unnecessary rift between two parties who have reconciled for the greater cause of the country’s political stability.”
The information minister also noted that her family had a long association with Pir Pagara’s and that she personally respected him.
PML-F’s Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh told The Express Tribune that while it was a good sign that Marri had apologised, Pir Pagara Sibghatullah Rashdi would decide whether the PML-F should end its boycott of the assembly proceedings. According to Shaikh, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani took notice of Marri’s remarks against PML-F leaders. “She has now tendered the apology, which is enough to pardon her,” he said.
“I still stand by my words. She had talked against Shah Mardan Shah in a rough way,” he said, adding that there was proof of her statement since it had been televised. He said that the leadership of parties should not be criticised.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.