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• Dr. Muhammad Hanif Khalil has resumed the charge as Acting Director of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad w.e.f. 25-09-2023
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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarFarhat Iftikhar Gill
Title of Dissertation The Role of Sajjadah Nashins in the Politics of Pakistan: Case Study of Suhrawardi Silsilah in Multan
Issue Date2016
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Sajjada Nashins or Gaddi Nashins are people who are inheritors/ custodians of shrine of famous Sufi personages, e.g., Baba Farid Shakarganj a Chishti Sufi, Baha-ud-Din Zakriya Suhrawardi, Musa Pak Shaheed Gilani, etc. Such Sajjadah nashins have played pervasive role in the politics of Pakistan – both during the Pakistan movement and in the post-independence era. This thesis focuses on the role of Suhrawardi sajjadah nashins.

Political role involves two vital dimensions, namely, role in defining the nation’s values/ideology and the role played in manning the major institutions, i.e. the legislative, executive and judicial organs at all levels of governmental setup.

The thesis highlights the positive attitudes of Sahrawardi silsilah to rulers as opposed to other Silsilahs such as the Chishti Silsilah which avoided contact with rulers.

Based on archival material, government documents, secondary literature, primary sources including field work and in-depth interviews of eminent members of the Multan Qureshi family and scholars, the study finds adoption of different styles of political role in different eras. The early sajjadah nashins concentrated on the strengthening of values in the country. The founder, Baha-ud-Din Zakariya, promoted application of Sharia, spiritual well-being and knowledge of the Holy Quran. The later sajjada nashins of the medieval era carried on in his footsteps. Sajjadah nashins during the British period were active, accepting minor posts offered by the colonial system. With the inception of independence, role of sajjada nashins in defining the values of society was ambiguous, with minimal participation in debates about the ethno-moral basis of the society. However, they manned high legislative and executive posts including membership in national and provincial assemblies, chairmanship of the Senate, governorship of province and ministership at provincial and national levels. Several members of the Suhrawardi sajjadah nashin family have held the positions of councillors, mayor of municipal committee/ corporation in urban areas and chairmanship of district board in rural areas.