KARACHI: The Pak Hunza-Gilgit Social and Welfare Organization (PHGSWO) is a Karachi based entity registered under The Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (registration and control) Ordinance, 1961 with registration No DSW/567. Alongside the Ismaili Jamati institutions, the PHGSWO is working for the welfare of the Ismaili community from Gilgit Baltistan residing in Karachi through education, patient health assistance, skill development, socio-economic empowerment and cultural events since 1964.
Since early 1960s PHGSWO has been one of the leading organizations of Hunza and Gilgit in assisting deserving students financially in Karachi. It has not only assisted students and youth but also has been in frontline to eradicate community-related issues, providing health assistance to deserving patients, creating cultural and recreational platforms for get-together for the people away from home. The purpose is to keep the richness of the mountain culture alive and remember the life in mountains here in Karachi.
PHGSWO has arranged various programs over the past years. “Explore Karachi” (EP) is one of such programs PHGSWO been organizing for senior citizens of Hunza and Gilgit every year since the last five years. The idea of EP was initiated by the PHGSWO cabinet of 2015-16 to create awareness among the people of Hunza and Gilgit about the historical, cultural and other famous religious places and with the history of Karachi. Earlier the program would start from visiting two to three different venues and a gathering at gymkhana for musical event, medical camp, and refreshment. But this time keeping the frequent request of our seniors the present cabinet decided to set-up the program at a single venue and the lush green garden of the Cosy Water Park was chosen after deliberations. The program started with the recitation of Quranic verses. Oath taking ceremony of the new cabinet for the year 2020-21 was also part of the program. Moula Madad Qizil, Convener for Civil Society Institutions for the Namdar Regional Ismaili Council for Southern Region took the oath from the new cabinet. Later on, newly appointed Chairman, Babar Junaid formally welcomed senior citizens of GBC, Board of Directors of PHGSWO, honorable donors and distinguished guests. In his welcome speech, Chairman PGHSWO discussed issues faced by the community in Karachi and emphasized on the collective efforts with a focus on the concept of “giving” to solve the problems and ensuring holistic development of the community. The chairman informed the participants about the activities undertaken by the PHGSWO in last two years and also shared PHGSWO’s future programs. He urged the community elders, intellectuals and professionals for the time, knowledge and financial support for the implementation of the future programs.
For the entertainment of senior citizens a number of activities were planned. Various performing artists including musicians, singers, comedians entertained the participants of the program. Along with the entertainment activities, a medical camp was set for free health checkup of participants. Since it was a daylong program, refreshments, lunch and fruits were served.
In their feedback to the organizers, the participants shared sheer joy of getting a taste and a snapshot of their native culture amidst the bustling city life of Karachi. It must be noted that a large number of elders from GBC tend to spend their winters in Karachi whereas a significant number of them visit Karachi to get medical care preferably in winters. It was contended that such programs provide a platform for senior citizens and other family members to meet and greet with friends and families living here in Karachi and share their experiences. It also helps the new generation to learn about the traditions, cultural values, historical events and ethics of the closely knitted mountain communities residing in different contexts.