Prince Karim Agha Khan to visit Gilgit Baltistan after 17 years
Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, will visit Gilgit-Baltistan today (Saturday).
He is on a 13-day visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the Government of Pakistan. He will meet his followers on December 9 in Chitral and December 10 in Gilgit-Baltistan, after which he will visit Karachi from December 14 to 19.
Prince Karaim Agha Khan will reach Gilgit on today from where he will fly to Chitral to meet thousands of his followers. To see a glimpse of their Imam, thousands of Ismailis will gather in Chitral, Ghizar and Aliabad, Hunza.
All the main roads and public places in Hunza and Ghizar have been decorated with welcoming messages. Besides, the volunteers of the community are working day and night to make the necessary arrangements prior to the arrival of the Imam.
A true picture of interfaith harmony can be witnessed in Gilgit-Baltistan as the residents belonging to various sects are not only ready to give warm welcome to Prince Karim Agha Khan but also are extending every support to make security and other arrangements in Hunza and Ghizar.
The residents of Asqardas, Samair and Shayar have voluntarily gifted their share of electricity for three days to Aliabad in Hunza during the visit of Agha Khan.
It is part of a series of visits of Prince Karim Agha Khan that coincides with the commemoration of diamond jubilee of his ‘Imamat’, beginning earlier this year on July 11. Earlier Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, CADD Minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and other officials had received the guest at Islamabad airport.
The diamond jubilee marks 60 years of his ‘Imamat’ as the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community. He acceded to the Ismaili ‘Imamat’ on July 11, 1957, succeeding his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan, at the age of 20 as the 49th Imam of the Ismailis.
The Shia Ismaili Muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, live in over 25 different countries, mainly in Central and South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in Europe, North America and Australia. The Ismaili community hopes to do everything possible to make the world a safer, more peaceful and stable place.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) was founded by Prince Karim Agha Khan. It is a group of private, non-denominational development agencies working to empower communities and individuals to improve living conditions and opportunities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East. The network’s agencies focus on economic and social development, and cultural initiatives, for all citizens, regardless of gender, origin or religion. The AKDN’s underlying ethic is compassion for the vulnerable in society. It operates in 30 countries around the world, employing 80,000 people, and has an annual budget for its social activities exceeding $900 million.
The AKDN has had a longstanding presence in Pakistan, going back to 1905 when the first non-profit Aga Khan School was established in Gwadar Balochistan. Today, through the 160 schools of the Aga Khan Education Services and through the teacher training and school improvement programmes of the Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan Foundation, it has reached tens of thousands of teachers and millions of students.
It provides financial services for millions of Pakistanis, including micro-insurance for healthcare. At the same time, it has worked to preserve Pakistan’s rich heritage by restoring over 170 historic settlements, forts, houses and monuments, ranging from the Wazir Khan Mosque Complex in Lahore to the Khaplu Village and a palace in Baltistan.