President Asif Ali Zardari's resident 'pir' or Sufi master has said he will conduct a special "meditation session" to ward off evils spoken about by another 'pir', who contended that there would be a change of government in Pakistan in November.
"I am starting a chilla (meditation session) to ward off the evils spoken (of) by Pir Pagara that this November will see a change of government just as the weather changes," Pir Mohammad Ejaz told the Dawn newspaper.
Ejaz spoke to the daily during a reception hosted at the presidency yesterday by Zardari for his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov.
Clad in a 'shalwar-kameez' and slippers, Ejaz sported a salt and pepper beard and had covered his head with a red scarf, the report said.
"As he roamed around, politicians and bureaucrats shuffled around him and nodded their heads to wish him. He was at ease as he mingled with the high profile crowd," the daily reported.
Zardari did "not worry about the political shenanigans of and plotting by his opponents as he has his trusted Pir to worry about all that", the report said.
Ejaz was spotted in the presidency's main reception hall, where he stood behind the guests and recited verses from the Quran in hushed tones.
When Zardari, the Turkmenistan President and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani entered the hall, Ejaz's voice "became conspicuously loud".
A holy man from Gujranwala in Punjab, Ejaz has been living in a guestroom "located close to the President's room" since Zardari moved into the presidency in September 2008.
He is known by all in the presidency for his "influential status".
"I have been accompanying Zardari sahib for the last nine years through all his crises. It is because of my prayers he is now enjoying power. I have protected the President from evils during the three-and-a-half year tenure of the present government and will do the same in case of Pir Pagara's deadline," Ejaz said.
However, he seemed disappointed by the "bad governance" of Gilani's government.
"It's not for me to do everything, they have to do some things on their part as well," he said.
Zardari is known to be superstitious and his spiritual beliefs have been widely reported earlier.
Media reports have said one of his daily rituals is the sacrifice of a black goat to protect him from evil.
Hundreds of black goats have reportedly been sacrificed since Zardari moved into the presidency.
It is said his trusted personal servant, Bai Khan, buys the goats from Saidpur village in Islamabad, which has a large animal market.