Photographs: Ikram Najmi
Karimabad, October 22: Ismaili Muslims celebrated the anniversary of their spiritual leader, His Highness the Aga Khan’s first arrival in Hunza Valley. The occasion was marked with dance and festivity. Speakers highlighted the role of the Aga Khan in Hunza’s development, comparing life before and after the 1960s.
Prayers were offered for global peace and unity among the human race. Special prayers were also offered for unity among all sects of Islam.
Speakers also shed light on the need for sectarian harmony in the region. The youth were urged to play an active and positive role in bringing the people of the region together, to create an enabling and mutually-enhancing society.
The Aga Khan, who came for the first time to the region to meet his followers had, after his return initiated a development programme that led his community out of the abysmal poverty, illiteracy and ignorance of the past. The AKDN continues playing a leading role in development of health, education, economy, culture, tourism and other fields of life in the Hunza Valley. The AKDN also works in Ghizar, Skardu, Ghangche, Astore and Gilgit district of the region, along with the neighboring Chitral district.
Initially, the interventions by the AKDN were resisted by different communities. However, during the last decade an era of acceptance has enable the network to reach more communities and serve them in different areas.
Ismailis are a sub-branch of the Shia sect and they believe in the Aga Khan as a hereditary spiritual leader, who traces his lineage to the holy prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) through his daughter Hazrat Fatima (RA) and son-in-law Hazrat Ali (RA).