End of a political era

Pir Syed Mardan Shah IIPresident of the Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F) and spiritual leader of the Sunni Muslim Sufi order of the Hur community in Sindh Pir Syed Mardan Shah II — also known by the title of Pir Pagara — has passed away at the age of 83.

Due to a lung infection he was operated on at the Aga Khan University in Karachi after which he was in a critical condition and put on a ventilator.He was then flown to the Wellington Hospital in London for treatment where he died.Pir Pagara began his political career in the 1960s when he was made head of the PML-F by Fatima Jinnah following her defeat to General Ayub Khan in the elections. Since then the PML-F has remained a peripheral party, even though Pir Pagara himself has been actively involved in politics throughout his life and was considered a prominent leader. He was the fourth leader of the Hur community, which is known for its armed uprising against the British during World War II — the government that hanged his father Pir Syed Sibghatullah Shah in 1943 for his struggle against colonial rule.

Pir Pagara was never averse to claiming and boasting that he was close to GHQ and was thus a staunch supporter of the army in the country. He even welcomed Ziaul Haq into power and had many a time tried to undermine democracy — something consistent with his close affiliations with and endorsing of the military. He was well known for his predictions about politics in Pakistan that often held true. Bearing in mind his closeness with GHQ, these political forecasts were also seen by some as signals from the military.

According to many, Pir Pagara’s death marks the end of a political era in Pakistan and — as part of our culture — his death has received nationwide condolences with the Sindh chief minister having announced a three-day mourning period. Nevertheless, with all due respect to Pir sahib’s memory, Pakistan needs to get itself out of this opportunism syndrome and move past such politics. – Dailytimes