Gilgit - Baltistan

The significance of October 23

By: Zulfiqar Ali Khan 

The 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV was the first Imam to visit the Ismaili community in Northern Areas of Pakistan, from October 20th to October 26th, in the year 1960. To signify the importance of this historical visit, the Ismaili community of Northern Areas (Gilgit – Baltistan) celebrates these days, with great zeal and festivity since 1960.

According to oral historical accounts, the people of Hunza accepted Ismaili faith after 1823, during the reign of Mir Saleem Khan II and later, by paying Bayath (promise of loyalty) on the hands of Ismaili Pirs(saints) from Central Asia. There are also evidences that the people, who migrated from Central Asia to Hunza, were already believers of the Ismaili faith. However, after 1823, Ismaili interpretation of Islam got the status of the faith of Hunza state. 

The Ismaili community of Hunza received the messages of their Imams through different indirect channels till the time when the 49th Imam, Shah Karim Al-Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, for the first time paid a visit to the Ismaili Community of Northern Areas of Pakistan. In this regard he offered Didar (visual contact) to the community of Hunza on October 23rd, 1960.

During this visit he, for the first time, directly witnessed the socio-economic conditions of the Ismaili community of Northern Areas. The elders still cherish candid memories of this visit and regard it as a turning point in the overall development of the region.

After this historical visit, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) started offering services in health, education and later on in integrated rural development sectors. During 1960, there were hardly a few people having the ‘primary passed’ certificate in the entire state of Hunza but today the literacy rate is above 75% overall and close to hundred percent among people below the age of 25. At that time, the communities were trapped in vicious cycle of poverty but now the community has the capacity to help out others to get rid of ignorance and poverty…and so on.

Pictures Courtesy: Ismaili Heritage

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  1. Your post seems to be cutting off at the right. I would recommend you copy/paste the text of the post into Paste from Word icon. Or copy/paste into HTML section of the editor.

    Seems like a good post and some rare photographs.

  2. Salgirah (Khushiali) Mubarak to the Ismaili community of Hunza and Gilgit-Baltistan.

    Today what we are, is only due to this Mubarak day. This day has brought a revolutionary change in the life of people of not only Hunza but all over the Gilgit-Baltistan.

    We should celebrate this day with the hope of improvment in our life by developing our community, our country and humanity.

    The Shia Ismailism is the religion of WISDOM, it is the religion of Valunrism.

  3. Salgirah Mubark to all our spritual brothers and sisters from all over nothern Pakistan. the day will be a sign of happness for every murids who celebarte this event, ans prticulally for hunza jamat b/c it is 23rd. many many mubarak to all.
    with many prayers,
    Rashid WWF

    Solha sol wuz perishon zu xona wiron tu
    Sedoyi bulbuli reyhon ajab yi nola tu
    Bachashme nam kertem sajda yi mehraboni ce wezg

    Noyoft ki tu hayem mehmon jehon yi zindon tu
    Xeyole hijern perishon wuzem yi anjon tu
    Zindoni vitk mar guliston ki yi mehmoni ce wezg
    Waxti barangi guliton ki yi mehmoni ce wezg
    Charind parind sargurdon ki yi mehmoni ce wezg
    Hazor bor kertem shukran ki yi mehmoni ce wezg
    ………………………………………..Abdulllah Bai……….

  5. “Bar Jan-e-man chu Noor-e- Imam-e-Zaman be taft
    Lail-lu-Sarar Budum Shams-ud-Duha Shudum”
    “When the light of the Imam of the time shone upon my soul,Even thoguh I was dark as night,I became the glorious son.”
    I offer my warmest mubarkarbad on this blessed and holy day to all Ismaili murids..

  6. yam,
    salgirah mubarak to every ismili of hunza gilgit and gojal may mola brings a lot of happiness in our lives.
    azizo jan dil karna fidaye ilum – e – ruhani
    k hum aye hain dunya ma baraye ilum-e- rohani.
    bashir alam shad
    fedral urdu university

  7. Mowla thanks alot for your blessings and mercies on us. Today we are much ahead, much ahead. Its your blessing you have bestowed on the murids of Northers Areas.
    My dear brothers and sisters its the time to pay tribute to our beloved Mowla. This is only possible through regularity in your prayers because in one of Mowla’s Farman, Mowla has said that,
    Wish you all a very happy and happy saligirah mubarak.
    May Allah bless you all a happy, prosperous and a long life.
    May Mowla fullfil your all desires and wishes.

  8. This is no doubt a significant day in the history of Ismailies living in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. While reflecting upon the recent history, it is even more important as we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of an Imam who has spent his whole life for the betterment of Jamats worldwide and ofcourse in these rugged mountain areas where things have changed like from dark to light as Syedna Pir Nasir Khusrow says:

    Bar Jan-e-Men chu Noor-e-Imame Zaman Bitaft
    Lailus-sarar Boodam-o- Shmas-uz-Zuha Shudam

    Salgirah Mubarak to all Ismaili brothers and sisters.


  9. Salgirah Mubrak to all Ismaili sisters and brothers of Northern areas (Gilgit/Baltistan),

    Dear Zulfiqar,

    Thanks for sharing the historical pictures of MHIs visit 1of 960s. Indeed, the occasion of 20th to 26th October will remain in our minds and recorded in Ismaili history, where MHI blessed all the Ismaili Murids of Northern Area of Pakistan (Gilgit, Hunza, and Ghizer) with Deedar Mubrak. The light (Noor) radiates in our material and spiritual life and proved as a miracle to bring rapid changes in our entire mode of life.

    It is really a great notion to transfer the noble lessons and events of the history to our youths and young kids. We should celebrate the salgirah mubrak of 23rd October to recall the memory of first visit of MHI 1960s, and pay our gratitude and sincere thanks to MHI for his countless blessings. We should acknowledge the Imamati and AKDN institutions role in over all development of Ismaili Jamat in particular and the entire humanity in general.

    As a token of appreciation and thankfulness we can contribute our knowledge and wisdom through the initiatives of Time and Knowledge Nazrana (TKN) on the happy occasion of MHI Golden Jubilee celebrations.

    Thanks and regards
    Sharif Khan

  10. Salgirah Mubarak to all the ismaili muslim Jamat of NA

    Referrence to the happy occasion we must acknowledge and admit that Imamati institutions under the directions of Imam-e-Zaman has played an excellent role in improving the living standard of the Jamat since 4 decades.


    Shah Zaman

  11. A collection of verses dedicated to His Highness the Aga Khan, Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, has been brought out in Dushanbe.

  12. Salgirah Mubarak to all ismaili communities of Gilgit Baltistan & all The world.
    Salgirah Mubark to all our spritual brothers and sisters from all over gilgit baltistan Pakistan. the day will be a sign of happness for every murids who celebarte this event, ans prticulally for hunza jamat b/c it is 23rd to 26th. many many mubarak to all.
    with many prayers,

  13. Heartiest and warmest MOBARAKBAD to all Ismaili Jamat of Hunza on the ocassion of 49th year of 1st Didar of Imam Zaman Noor Moulan Shah Karimul Hussaini.

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