Gilgit: On 13th December 2015, the Ismailis of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral will celebrate the 79th birthday of the present living Imam, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1936, His Highness became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims by succeeding his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah on July 11th, 1957, at the age of 20. During nearly six decades of his Imamat, His Highness has devoted himself to the spiritual and worldly progress of Ismailis everywhere.
The Aga Khan spent his early childhood in Nairobi, Kenya, and then attended Le Rosey School in Switzerland for nine years. He graduated from Harvard University in 1959 with a BA Honors Degree in Islamic history. Like his grandfather Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan before him, the Aga Khan has, since assuming the office of Imamat in 1957, been concerned about the well-being of all Muslims, particularly in the face of the challenges of rapid historical changes. Today, the Ismailis live in some 25 countries, mainly in West and Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as in North America and Western Europe.
The Aga Khan Development Network runs a massive programme of human development in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region, with efforts being made to contribute towards poverty alleviation, education, improvement of health services, cultural development, environment, disaster risk reduction and economic development through HBL and First Micro-Finance Bank. The Aga Khan Development Network, which is a contemporary initiative of the Imamat, has not only helped the Ismailis; it has also played a very important role in development of other communities living in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region.
The celebration of Imam’s birthday is an occasion for Ismailis to reflect on the unique spiritual bond that links each murid to his Imam. It also affords the Jamat an opportunity to express its love, loyalty and devotion to the Imamat, which binds the Ismaili community together as one.
We rejoice in celebrating the Salgirah of His Highness alongside the Ismailis inhabiting Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral and all over the world and wish Salgirah Mubarak to all Ismaili readers of Pamir times!