Gilgit, July 6: Followers of the Shia Imami Ismaili sect of Islam are busy in preparations for celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of their spiritual leader, Shah Karim Al-Hussaini Aga Khan.
The Aga Khan became the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismailis in 1957, on 11th of July succeeding his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah. 2017 marks completion of sixty years of the Aga Khan’s spiritual and worldly leadership (Imamat), which is being celebrated by the Ismailis globally as Diamond Jubilee.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations will last for one year, starting on the 11th of July.
Elaborate celebrations are being planned in Chitral, Gilgit, Ghizer and Hunza, districts where sizeable numbers of Ismailis live. Devotional songs and tributes are being prepared by artists, to honor the Aga Khan, who has played an instrumental role in transforming these remote areas, through the activities of the Aga Khan Development Network.
The Aga Khan visited Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral in 1960, for the very first time. Before him no Ismaili Imam had visited his followers in these remote, mountainous, regions.
On completion of his sixty years of Imamat, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III, had started a large number of schools, known as the Diamond Jubilee (DJ) schools, among other initiatives, which played a significant role in spreading education in the region.
Ten years ago, in 2007, the current Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee (50 years) of Imamat had been celebrated globally, including GB and Chitral.
Today a delegation of the Ismaili Regional Council called on the Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan, Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, to invite him officially to attend a ceremony planned on the 11th of July.