Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


The pir in the palace

Updated July 14, 2013

It would be of general public interest, especially the tax-payers, to know if a resident pir lives in the Prime Minister House presently. Nawaz Sharif’s pir of the past was the celebrated Dewana Baba of Dhanaka Sharif in Mansehra District. His real name was Rahmat Ullah. He died in 2008. In his second term as PM, Sharif had his village electrified, according to a source from that area.

When Sharif exited in 1993, the only ‘souvenir’ he left behind for his successor Benazir Bhutto was Dewana Baba. BB must have believed that if the Baba got Sharif two terms in office, surely the pir’s prayers and blessings must have endowed her too. My source tells me she would trek the hilly terrain where the Baba lived holding a danda to beat his VVIP and other visitors with. The more the beating, the more the benedictions from the pir. Eventually, PM Benazir had a helipad constructed for her frequent commute. “Dhanaka Sharif was also connected with the outside world through the construction of a paved road on Benazir Bhutto’s orders,” says the source.

The other VIP who was an avowed disciple of Baba was the late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who was our caretaker prime minister after Ghulam Ishaq dismissed BB from office in her first term.

When Benazir and Zardari visited the White House as the first couple in her first term in office, there was a big ruckus about a strange looking man accompanying them. His role was indeterminate but many journalists, including Najam Sethi, accompanying the prime minster’s party thought he was the official pir.

Another holy man to rise in prominence was Multani Baba, a resident of Chak Shezad in Islamabad. BB would go to him and often sit on the floor at the man’s footsteps. I followed the protocol when I went one morning to seek his blessings. The dhoti clad Multani Baba sat on a chair in a small room. I can’t recall what he said to me but I do remember his stories about his VVIP visitor. After doling out money as sadqa, I returned home. For me it was a non-event.

While we wait to hear who is PM Sharif’s current pir, we all know the man who lives in the presidential palace today. He controls Zardari’s movements. He decides if it is auspicious for his mureed to live near the sea or to go far, far away from the mountains. Mohammad Ejaz from Gujranwala is not publicity shy. He is a common sight at key events in the presidency, which he owns as his own residential address since September 2008, obviously moving bag and baggage with the president.

Pir Ejaz takes credit for keeping away the evil eye from his mureed. He takes credit (sorry Gen Kayani and Nawaz Sharif) for the successful completion of his disciple’s five-year term, due to end in 57 days. But never one to sit on his laurels, the ever-watchful Pir Sahib warns the president whenever his supernatural radar antes up the red flags with sirens sounding off forewarnings that the president must stay grounded in Bilawal House, Karachi and away from the Margalla Mountains. At times, the prescient pir can see ‘some evil spirits dangling over his [President’s] head.’

The ‘casualties’ in the change of presidential plan were eight hapless ambassadors waiting to present their credentials. The ceremony was twice delayed according to this newspaper. Initially the ambassadors were given the green light to report for diplomatic foppery that forms a part of the ceremonial ritual at the presidency in Islamabad. They got a shout out from presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar giving them instructions to come enjoy the sea air of Karachi and present their papers.

But then Pir Ejaz had another vision. He told Zardari that the danger from the Margallas had passed and the “evil spirits” had vanished. It was better for the president and his entourage to return to the mountains of Islamabad. Good! Tell the ambassadors to change their itinerary and show up for the ceremony at the presidency in Islamabad.

President Zia was not smart enough. He didn’t heed his sage’s advice and ventured out of Pindi. Only to let a crate of mangoes blow him and his generals up in midair.

Sages, clairvoyants, mystics and psychics are not uncommon in the subcontinent. They also breed everywhere around the world. People in power are especially susceptible to following their advice. Jeane Dixon was one such psychic who advised presidents from Roosevelt to Reagan and predicted the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Dixon visited the White House twice when Frank D. Roosevelt was the president with a crystal ball tucked discreetly inside the sleeve of her mink. She told the sick president how long he would live, and that America should be fighting with Germany against the Soviet Union. Elliott Roosevelt said his father was interested in ESP (extrasensory perception) and had discussed it with Dixon.

In the ’50s and ’60s, Dixon’s predictions were at their zenith. She foretold the “launching of Sputnik, UN secretary general Dag Hammerskjold’s plane crash, the deaths of three Apollo astronauts, and much else.” Writes ForteanTimes, the magazine that reports the ‘world of strange phenomena’

“She [Jeane] will always be remembered particularly as ‘the woman who predicted Kennedy’s assassination’. The Fortean Times, details the “countdown to Dallas,” begun in 1952, while Jeane was in a cathedral. “A radiant image of the White House appeared and the number ‘1960’ formed above it; dark clouds spread from the numerals … a man stood there, ‘young, tall, and blue-eyed, with a shock of thick brown hair. An inner voice told her that he was a Democrat, and that the president elected in 1960 would meet with a violent death while in office”.

Before the 1960 presidential elections, Parade magazine carried a write-up on Dixon predicting that “for the 1960 election, Mrs Dixon thinks it will be won by a Democrat. But he will be assassinated or die in office, ‘though not necessarily in his first term’.” [20] Kennedy was elected in 1960 and Dixon saw gloomy clouds and caskets over the White House.”

So accurate were her predictions that 10 months before Kennedy’s assassination, she prophesied he would be dead before the end of the year. In April of that year, she even forecast that he’d be shot. According to reports, on Nov 13, Dixon tried warning Kennedy that he would be assassinated if he travelled “down south”. She told radio host Long John Nebel: “Something is going to happen to Jack this week” and on Nov 22, allegedly announced: “this is the day it will happen”. A shroud she saw over the White House had darkened and she phoned radio host to say that the president should not take part in any “political thing” in Dallas.

Ninety minutes later, President Kennedy was dead.

The funeral was held in the cathedral where Jeane had the fatal vision, according to ForteanTimes.

Dexterously manoeuvering our president away from “evil spirits,” Pir Ejaz has so far kept Zardari safe. No wonder our president allows the resident pir to control his life.