Kashmir not part of Pakistan: Pagaro
29 November 2003
The Daily Times
KHAIRPUR: Veteran Sindhi politician and PML leader Syed Shah Mardan Shah Pir Pagaro said on Saturday that Kashmir was never part of Pakistan and there was no chance of its merger with this country. But talking to Daily Times in an exclusive interview at his home in Pir jo Goth, Pir Pagaro refused to comment on the subject any further. Reminded that Pakistan's foreign policy was based on the Kashmir dispute, that the role of the military depended on the question, he replied that he knew nothing about these matters.He said that after 1958 Pakistan did not have politicians, and that unseen forces ruled the country since the year when Gen. Ayub Khan imposed martial law on Pakistan. When asked about Javed Hashmi's arrest, Pir Pagaro said he had read Mr Hashmi's controversial letter, and it was not the work of a responsible person. Thus, he added, what Mr Hashmi was facing today was the outcome of his own deeds. He refused to comment on rumours of imminent change in the Sindh government, saying the rumours originated in Islamabad and he was in Pir jo Goth. But he added that any change taking place would be in favour of the Muslim League. He denied that Communication Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim was among favourites for the position of chief minister if the current incumbent, Ali Mohammad Maher, were replaced. Asked whether his son Syed Sadaruddin Shah, who is minister for irrigation, was also among those favoured to become the next chief minister he said he would not allow his son to take that huge responsibility. He said general elections would soon be held in the country and the different groups of the PML had unified for that very purpose. He also predicted that the PML would win elections with a commanding majority.Commenting on the remark by MMA leader Liaqat Baloch that the government of Prime Minsiter Zafarullah Jamali would be dislodged, Pir Pagaro said the opposition must stabilize itself before making such threats.He also said the country would soon become a free trade zone and local industry would come to a standstill as the import market would be much cheaper. He said sugar mills in Pakistan would stop working from 2005 and imported sugar would be sold at the rate of Rs 12 per kg, as against Rs 20 for locally produced sugar now. He said the maulvis had a difficult time ahead and Pakistani barbers would have good business in the near future, alluding to the clerics' beards. He said the religious parties, who in the past demanded Islamisation, had now taken a U-turn and were calling for democracy, and that soon they would fall silent. He said that when the clerics become calm, a new era would start in Pakistan. Pir Pagaro said the 1973 Constitution was abrogated in 1979 and amended in 1985 and now the country was being ruled by the 1985 constitution. Therefore, the opposition's demand for the revival of the 1973 Constitution was incomprehensible. Commenting on Ghulam Mustafa Khar's recently devised formula for gaining fame, Pir Pagaro said Mr Khar was among his friends, but lacked wealth, which is why his formula could not work. But he said if Mr Khar came to him he would give him some advice, which could be beneficial for the Punjab politician, but not for his formula.