Pir Pagara passes away: The political oracle goes silent

Published: January 11, 2012


Veteran politician and spiritual leader of the Hur Jamaat, Pir Pagara died in London on Tuesday.

The 83-year-old suffered from a lung problem, but initial reports suggest he passed away due to a heart attack. His body will be flown to Karachi today (Wednesday) evening before being taken to his home town Pir Jo Goth in Khairpur Mirs.

Famous for his predictions, the chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), at his last press conference, had said he would take a week’s leave ‘to go to nurse land.’

Pagara was admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi on November 24, where his lungs were operated upon. Shortly afterwards, due to deteriorating condition, he was put on a ventilator. He was subsequently flown to London on an air ambulance, accompanied by family and party leaders, and admitted to Wellington Hospital.

Childhood and early education

The seventh Pir Pagaro (chieftain) of his jamaat, the deceased was born Shah Mardan Shah II, alias Pir Sikandar Shah, on November 22, 1928 in Pir Jo Goth.

His father, Syed Sabighatullah Shah Rashdi, was hanged on March 20, 1943, in Hyderabad Central Jail by the colonial government for his struggle against British rule. His burial site remains unknown. Pagara and his brother, Nadir Shah, were taken into custody by the British government after their father’s death.

Before being sent to London, Pagara was under the custody of a police official Qazi Sadurdin in Aligarh, India, between 1943 and 1946. He was taught the Holy Quran during that time.

He received his early education at Davis Elementary School in London, where children of rebellious leaders were usually schooled, and was taught French, Latin and English.

Returns to Pakistan

Pagara met with the first prime minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan after independence, who played a key role in bringing him back to Pakistan in 1951. His confiscated property and ‘gaddi’ (spiritual seat) were subsequently restored, and he became the spiritual leader of the Hur Jamaat in 1952.

His first marriage was to the daughter of Miran Muhammad Shah, a landlord and spiritual leader from Rahim Yar Khan, who is the uncle of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

He had three sons from that marriage – Sabghatullah Shah Rashdi (Raja Saen), Sadruddin Rashdi (Younus Saen), and Ali Gohar Shah. One of Pagara’s daughters is married to PPP leader Agha Siraj Durrani, while his granddaughter is married to one of Prime Minister Gilani’s sons. Pagara married a second time, a few years ago, into his relatives in Pir Jo Goth. He has three children from the second marriage.

Political career

Kingri House, Pagara’s residence in Karachi, served as a focal point for politicians from across the spectrum who came to meet him and seek political guidance. Pagara started his political career from Ayub Khan’s Conventional Muslim League before switching to Sheikh Mujeeb’s Awami League.

Later, he joined the Muslim League before launching his own party, the PML-Functional.

Pagara had a political dispute with Bhutto, when the later came to power, which resulted in the death of seven of his devotees in Sindh.

The veteran politician supported all military rules in the country. He welcomed Ziaul Haq into power, after Bhutto was hanged, and recommended Muhammad Khan Junejo for the post of prime minister.

The self-dubbed ‘modern Pagara’ was fond of smoking cigars, the reason cited by his close aides for his lung problems.

Condolence messages flew in from across the country as a large number of political leaders, friends and devotees gathered at his Karachi and Pir Jo Goth residence following the news of his demise.

Chief Khalifa of the Hur Jamaat Qadir Bux Mangrio, while talking to The Express Tribune, said “No one can fill the gap left behind by Pir Saen.”

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Kamal Malik
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:57AM

    He looks like the head of Greek Orthodox Church. Very Colorful. May Bhagvan give him Shanti


  • Jan 11, 2012 - 7:38AM

    RIP Pir sahib of Pagara. Salams


  • Nosherwan Shahid Shaikh
    Jan 11, 2012 - 7:40AM

    He will be missed. He knew how to keep the political forces tied together.


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Jan 11, 2012 - 9:33AM

    Pir sahib deserve guard of honour whose Hurr defended our mother land in wars of 1965 and 1971.He himself proclaimed to be a man of GHQ always, when political temperature use to high in the country.


  • Jan 11, 2012 - 10:34AM

    I don’t think any one can fill the gap left by Mr. Pagara. But as far as Sufism is concerned it is not in accordance with real Islamic teachings.Recommend

  • Salams
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:43AM

    Great personality and a truly honorable leader with tremendous wisdom! May his soul rest in Heavan in peace!


  • IndiKid
    Jan 11, 2012 - 11:14AM

    He looks like a king. May he rest in peace.


  • Shaesta
    Jan 11, 2012 - 12:30PM

    Sad event.


  • Ayaz A Soomro
    Jan 11, 2012 - 2:12PM

    his second son Younus sayeen has all the skills and leadership needed to run the show!


  • Dr.BS(KL)
    Jan 11, 2012 - 3:03PM

    May Allah Tahla bless the departed soul. Ameen.


  • jamshad akhtar
    Jan 11, 2012 - 4:29PM

    “rest in peace”


  • karachiet
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:09PM

    is karachi off tomrrow ???Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Jan 11, 2012 - 6:26PM


    But as far as Sufism is concerned it
    is not in accordance with real Islamic

    Can you name one person (not even a group) that you consider to be in accordance with the real Islamic teachings.


  • saadat
    Jan 11, 2012 - 8:36PM

    (on…..Pir sahib Paggaro’s passing away)
    Last sunset… 1101-2012

    Mornings come and mornings go.
    Ceaseless winds timeless blow.

    As kismet rolls its enduring gall.
    Another domino tumbles falls.

    In the merge of days and nights.
    Or the urge of dizzying heights.

    Awed we gape unfolding paths,
    barren scapes, yon greener swaths.

    In Hedonic shadows collecting debts.
    Karma silent prances, weaving nets.

    Along rut and creek of passing days,
    jilted songs and jarring forays.

    Oblivious we sail on endless fret.
    Lonely to hush of the last sunset.

    saadat tahir.
    11 Jan. 12.


  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Jan 12, 2012 - 1:03AM

    GHQ has lost one of his main supporter in Sindh. A main pillar of politics is no more with us. May his soul rest in peace, Amen.


  • Mehriene Q
    Jan 12, 2012 - 2:32AM

    @ Abdullah.
    It was these very Sufi Saints who spread the message of Islam in the length and breadth of the indian Sub-continent.I don’t think you are even qualified to certify who falls within the Islamic teachings , and who doesn’t ! These Sufis studied Islam in great depth and followed it according to the Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings.


  • You Said It
    Jan 12, 2012 - 5:49AM

    nice hat.


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