Populist politics: Seven decades on, Hur force puts up grand show

Published: December 15, 2012
Women listen to participating speakers at the PML-F rally on Friday. PHOTO: NNI

Women listen to participating speakers at the PML-F rally on Friday. PHOTO: NNI


Dormant for nearly seven decades, the Hur Jamaat of Pir Pagara, under the banner of Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F), re-emerged on Friday chanting slogans of ‘one Sindh, one system’.

The PML-F is all set to grab the ‘Sindh card’ from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the upcoming general elections, the party’s leader and the spiritual head of Hur Jamaat, Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi, popularly known as Pir Pagaro, signalled.

The event was organised on a 72 acres ground which was filled to capacity. This was the second public meeting in four decades to have been addressed by a Pir Pagara.

Speaking in an unthreatening tone Pagara’s pithy articulation conveyed clear messages to the leadership of the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over the new local government system and Kalabagh dam issues.

“My slogan is very simple. One Sindh, one system,” he asserted while disapproving of the Sindh Peoples Local Government Act (SPLGA), 2012.

The PML-F parted ways with the PPP after a four-year-long alliance, when the latter conceded to MQM’s demand for a local government system.

According to Pagara, if the system is put in place, more miseries will be inflicted on Sindh.

“The PPP has a majority in Sindh Assembly. It doesn’t need us or the MQM to form the government. Then why there was a need for such a bargain?” he asked, hinting towards some untold reason behind the move.

The PML-F leader said he consulted various people before taking the decision to leave the government and begin a resistance against the new system.

“We will abide by the principles on which we left the government.”

General elections

Pagaro expressed doubts over the holding of a transparent election in the province, saying that the PPP and MQM are planning to install a caretaker government of their choice in Sindh.

“The plan is to make the MQM sit on the opposition benches so that the two parties can together select a caretaker setup.”

He advised the MQM to avoid being part of this plan because it will only increase the ethnic friction in the province. “MQM has to walk with Sindhis and Sindhis with MQM. Those who live in Sindh are Sindhis.”

Pir Pagaro

Kalabagh Dam

Dispelling the label for being a supporter of the Kalabagh Dam, Pagaro reminded the people that it was the PPP government which had approved the project.

“Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan did not show as much interest in the dam as Zulfikar Bhutto… I closed this chapter when I was federal minister for water and power. Again in 1988 Benazir Bhutto approved the project.”


“I want to tell Zardari, Sindh is not a card. It wants to live with respect, autonomy and equality in Pakistan,” said Sindh United Party’s leader Jalal Mehmood Shah.

The Sindh Taraqi Pasand party’s Dr Qadir Magsi said Sorya Badshah, the namesake grandfather of present Pir Pagaro, sacrificed his life while fighting against the British occupiers.

The leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, JUI-F, JI, dissident PPP MNA Zafar Ali Shah, PML-Q, PML-Like Minded, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz and other nationalist parties also spoke.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (19)

  • Gul Metlo
    Dec 15, 2012 - 1:37PM

    What a brief story for a gathering of 700000 people and representatives of many political parties and leaders by Express Tribune. The so called national press is so biased that it has continued to underplay the coverage of such mammoth political events ans strikes in the past as well. This reminds us the days of early 70s when Bengalis were not reported objectively by the then so called national press of west Pakistan


  • Noor
    Dec 15, 2012 - 2:12PM

    after KPK and punjab PPP is finished from interior sindh also.Imran Khan had already predicted that PPP will not secure 10% of current vote.


  • ALI
    Dec 15, 2012 - 2:19PM

    this procession is showing one of the largest gathering of political people in Sindh by near history. I think they are bigger in force than to PPP.


  • Usman786
    Dec 15, 2012 - 2:37PM

    yes ET shd write a thesis on how badly Sindhs were ruled by MNA/MPAs from their area, exposing canal cuts in the poor farmers area, no development in ministers area, how much businesses/shops paid tax which could be used for the poor. good that they have to pay some1 on higher rate


  • Nasir
    Dec 15, 2012 - 3:40PM

    @ Gul Metlo

    A confused comment… whether it is against the paper and for it. Should ET bring out an edition on coverage? Is it not sufficient the reporter has quoted that 72 acre ground was filled with people who rejected the LG system and KB Dam. I fail to understand what else the paper should do in its place of giving it around half page coverage with well-groomed photo of Pir Sahib and participants


  • Dec 15, 2012 - 4:29PM

    It is really sad that PPP is losing ground in its home province because of bad governance and confused gimmicks of politics played in Sindh and Federation. Sticking with MQM without any reason has cost much to PPP and losing of Sindh means losing of Pakistan for PPP. Once you lose your base you cannot control plight of political workers and seasonal birds.

  • afzaalkhan
    Dec 15, 2012 - 4:53PM


    Given more importance to the speech e.g. Pir Pagaro emphasized on education he asked specially for women education saying how can you deprive women of education and then think of better society. As a religious leader and Fedual lords these words alone show the changing winds in sindh rural areas.


  • H.A. Khan
    Dec 15, 2012 - 5:56PM

    ET should have done hustice to this large gathering of 7,00,000. PML-F and allies will be a good alternate to PPPP


  • Dec 15, 2012 - 5:58PM

    We shall not scrap the fact that a number of people were there to catch a glimpse of their Pir. This might not necessarily translate into votes in constituencies other than the PMLF’s strongholds, since most of the supporters belong to these strongholds. Unless PML-F is able to attract independently strong candidates, they are not going to make much of a difference. However, since Sindh is unhappy with the current PPP government, and is in a nationalist mood, the alliance of PML-F with the nationalists as well as PML-N, can make some difference. Nevertheless, I believe the single largest party will still be the PPP.

    The more important part to this gathering for me, is the message. In a climate of communal tensions in Sindh, this coming from the Pir Pagaro is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. Nationalists have welcomed this message, but are still cautious of the PML-F’s role as the party of the establishment and thus you see restrained responses from Dr Qadir Magsi and Saein Jalal Mahmood Shah.

    Nevertheless, for the first time in its history, the party looks on the right track. Kudos to Pir Pagaro!


  • Realist
    Dec 15, 2012 - 7:16PM

    Anti People’s Party forces in Sindh have been hijacked by Peer Pagara. This goes in favour of Zardari and goes against PML(n) & PTI


  • DevilHunterX
    Dec 15, 2012 - 9:15PM

    One Pakistan, One system.


  • ali jan
    Dec 15, 2012 - 10:34PM

    @Nasir:i think thousand people agitation by urdu speakers get more media coverage than coverage of sindhis and balch people,sindhis must stop watching urdu channels watch ktn sindh tv,awaz tv,let urdu channels report whatever thet want,


  • M
    Dec 15, 2012 - 11:02PM

    No one cares lolRecommend

  • Basit
    Dec 16, 2012 - 1:34AM

    Their basis of objecting to local government system is wrong and relies on age old concept of communist era centralized systems. People in Karachi do not what communist type Sindhi rule imposed on us. We are a free thinking people.Recommend

  • sam
    Dec 16, 2012 - 1:40AM

    Fully respect their display of unity but how will it serve the society? Are they teachers? Builders? Or mere peasants who still have direction in life even after decades and decades or independence.

    It also shows how much we advanced in 70 years. Japan lost world war and learned the lesson that force is not the best option to rule the world, now they rule the other way.

    So my question to everyone including my beloved hurs, “will you get any further if you stay the same way for generations?”

    Pakistan zindabad.


  • M Abid Ali
    Dec 16, 2012 - 7:35AM

    i really impressed bt the way that pir pagro speech in which he disucuss the reality of SINDH govt corruption by comparing the Highways og sindh and punjab, saying that no dimensions for youngsters in sindh. and the way he talked about the federation that we people are not against of it we want united pakistan we also want to built a dam but other than kalabagh in the end the way he prayers that May be ALLAH is angry with us thatswhy we pakistanis are in trouble was a quite different from other politician without blaming to some one elese after long time i heard a good speech..


  • Malahar
    Dec 16, 2012 - 10:05AM

    Change is constant and after failed governance of PPP-MQM alliance, people of Sindh were yearning for change. In the shape of PMLF and Progressive Sindhi nationalists, a new leadership is emerging. Current regime has given nothing but corruption, inflation, worst law and order situation, robberies, nepotism, ethnic and sectarian divide. Instead of making Sindh a prosper through governance and building bridges between different communities and sectarian groups, they rather just focused on power grabbing. And worst, PPP used SPLGB to appease MQM for the sake of power and now people of Sindh are uniting to replace such regime through democratic struggle which doesn’t care for them.


  • tariq
    Dec 16, 2012 - 2:30PM

    Biggest Jalsa i have ever seen after 1990-97 election campaigns in Sindhi with no singers etc


  • Kamran Naqvi
    Dec 16, 2012 - 6:55PM

    Last nail in the coffin of PPP’s Sindh Card.


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