Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

Memorial park guardian in Gilgit: keeper of China-Pakistan friendship

ISLAMABAD, April 19 (Xinhua) — “My life is all about safeguarding the memorial park,” said Ali Ahmad Jan, a Pakistani who has been guarding the Chinese memorial park in the northern city of Gilgit for 37 years since 1978.

The Karakoram Highway, a 800 km-plus road built with fund from China during 1966-1978, is the only overland connection between China and Pakistan at present and the only economic lifeline for Pakistan’s northern region.

Hundreds of Chinese engineers died while building the road, among which 88 Chinese employees died in Pakistan during the 12 years of construction of the road, which is hailed as road of China-Pakistan friendship.

“I witnessed the efforts the Chinese employees took and the hardship they bore. I was deeply touched and greatly motivated,” Ali Ahmad said. “That’s why when the park in memory of those people was completed in 1978, I decided to work for it.”

At the age of 22, he applied to the local government to work as a volunteer to safeguard the park and was hired.

Ali Ahmad is in charge of everything in the memorial park. Most of the 717 trees in the park was planted by him. Besides working as a gardener, he also cleans and keeps the park. He sweeps the park three to four times a day because he insisted on keeping the resting place of the Chinese heroes clean and tidy.

Day after day, year after year, Ali Ahmad has worked in the memorial park for 37 years, even though he only got little allowance from the government and lived a hard life.

(Ali Ahmad Jan cleans the Chinese memorial park in Pakistan’s northern city of Gilgit. Xinhua Photo by Huang Zongzhi)

ISLAMABAD, April 19 (Xinhua) — “My life is all about safeguarding the memorial park,” said Ali Ahmad Jan, a Pakistani who has been guarding the Chinese memorial park in the northern city of Gilgit for 37 years since 1978.

The Karakoram Highway, a 800 km-plus road built with fund from China during 1966-1978, is the only overland connection between China and Pakistan at present and the only economic lifeline for Pakistan’s northern region.

Hundreds of Chinese engineers died while building the road, among which 88 Chinese employees died in Pakistan during the 12 years of construction of the road, which is hailed as road of China-Pakistan friendship.

“I witnessed the efforts the Chinese employees took and the hardship they bore. I was deeply touched and greatly motivated,” Ali Ahmad said. “That’s why when the park in memory of those people was completed in 1978, I decided to work for it.”

At the age of 22, he applied to the local government to work as a volunteer to safeguard the park and was hired.

Ali Ahmad is in charge of everything in the memorial park. Most of the 717 trees in the park was planted by him. Besides working as a gardener, he also cleans and keeps the park. He sweeps the park three to four times a day because he insisted on keeping the resting place of the Chinese heroes clean and tidy.

Day after day, year after year, Ali Ahmad has worked in the memorial park for 37 years, even though he only got little allowance from the government and lived a hard life.

XxjiweE000005_20150419_BNMFN0A002_11n

“Although I’ve been through some hardships, I never thought about quitting this job,” said Ali Ahmad, who has not seen his allowance increased until recent years.

For his great contribution to the China-Pakistan friendship, Ali Ahmad was invited to visit China twice from 1997 to 2000. “The Chinese people are very nice to me. They regard me as their family,” Ali Ahmad said of his impression of China.

Ali Ahmad would be invited to Islamabad once in a while, but he said wherever he is, China or Islamabad, he is concerned about the memorial park. “Although I am sometimes outside of the park, my heart always stays here.”

Now at the age of 59, Ali Ahmad hoped that his work could be carried on by his sons. “Everybody dies. I hope that when I die, the government can hire at least one of my sons and let my family continue to serve the park.”

“We are proud of our father. He has been promoting the friendship between China and Pakistan and has been complimented by China. He told us since we were young that if he passes away we should continue to work for the park,” his second son Abid Hussain said.

Ali Ahmad has four sons, who recall being told about the stories of those who constructed the Karakoram Highway and have started to help their father work in the park since 10 years old.

“We are very much influenced by our father. We love the park and China. We are willing to devote our lives to the memorial park. We and our offsprings should pass on this job,” said Ali Ahmad’s little son Ariff Hussain.

Instagram did not return a 200.
%d bloggers like this: