By FAQIR ULLAH KHAN-GHULAM QADIR
(reporting from Aliabad, Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan Region)
At the invitation of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, accompanied by his daughter, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, landed in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday December 7, 2017, to commence his 12 day Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan. He was received at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, as well as the President of the Ismaili Council for Pakistan, Hafiz Sherali. Leaders of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Jamati Institutions in Pakistan were also present at the airport to receive Hazar Imam. He is expected to hold meetings with government leaders in Islamabad before travelling to Chitral on the 10th, Hunza on the 11th, and Karachi from the 15th until 19th December for darbars and mulaqats with tens of thousands of members of the Ismaili jamat.
His Highness the Aga Khan being greeted on arrival at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad by the Pakistan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Khawaja Muhammad Asif.
His Highness the Aga Khan in a light moment with children who presented him with bouquets. Photo: The Ismaili/Akbar Hakim.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan is greeted upon her arrival in Islamabad. Photo: The Ismaili/Fazal-e-Rabi.
His Highness the Aga Khan smiles at jubilant scouts and guides on arrival at Nur Khan Airbase in Islamabad for the commencement of his Diamond Jubilee visit to Pakistan.
Darbar of Mawlana Hazar Imam in Aliabad, Hunza
The pictures in this page tell our story, and our feelings for our beloved Mawlana Hazar Imam. We are a resilient people. Everyone is working very hard! Our spirits are high, as we await the arrival of Hazar Imam to our regions in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Your prayers and good wishes will go a long way in ensuring the success of this momentous event.
The Diamond Jubilee Band in the town of Passu. Photo: Sadrudin Sakhi.
As I noted in my last post, incredible preparations are underway in Chitral and Hunza to host darbars of Mawlana Hazar Imam in the presence of tens of thousands of Ismailis. We, as a jamat, are receiving an immense amount of help and cooperation from our brother and sister Muslims to ensure that the Diamond Jubilee visit is a happy one for Mawlana Hazar Imam. Registration cards have been distributed, the grounds for the darbars, kown as didargahs, are being prepared, roads are being repaired, visitors from far-away valleys are being hosted by the local jamats, and final touches are being put at the didar site to make the darbar setting befitting of the historical occasion – 60 years of Imamat! Remember, we live in an area with extreme weather conditions. Fortunately, the weather is holding up well and is expected to remain reasonably good over the next few days. However, as I mentioned earlier we would be able to withstand harsh conditions for up to 10 hours if they come our way! Inshallah, that won’t happen.
Ismaili girls pictured recently in the town of Passu. Jamati members in Passu will travel to Aliabad for the Darbar. Passu first hosted Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1987 and Ismaili youth had then inscribed welcome words on the slopes of the Cathedral Peaks. This time the words Diamond Jubilee have been added to another Didar Mubarak etching on the same mountain. Please see next two photos for original and new etching on the mountain in Passu. Photo: Sadrudin Sakhi.
I come from Passu, a town that was privileged to hold Mawlana Hazar Imam’s visit some 30 years ago. This time we are going to Aliabad, a little bit south of us so that it is easier for jamats to travel from Gilgit. Passu would be a little bit out of the way and would add considerable more time. Aliabad is very very fortunate – it will the fourth time they will be hosting Mawlana Hazar Imam. We are looking forward to this momentous event when tens of thousands of murids will be in front of the same spiritual father and mother, whose care and concern has uplifted us over the past several decades. We will be thinking of you, just as you thought of us and prayed for us that Hazar Imam should visit us. As you know, we did not get a visit during his Golden Jubilee that most Jamats received.
The original welcome sign etched on the mountain in November 1987. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
We live in one of the remotest corners of the world. But as Ali Karim mentioned in a special Simerg photo essay after his visit to us in 2016, we are a very hospitable people, we speak good English, our literacy rates are very high and we want other jamats around the world coming and visiting us in the years ahead. It is the right place for the Ismaili youth of the jamat living in the western world to come to this area for adventure and an incredible experience that they will never forget. It would be of mutual benefit.
Diamond Jubilee added recently to Didar Mubarak. Photo: Sadrudin Sakhi
One of several bands performing at Aliabad, Hunza. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
Amazing work underway to prepare for the Diamond Jubilee darbar in Aliabad. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
Mawlana Hazar Imam’s bungalow near the darbar site in Aliabad. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan
Helipad designed for at least two helicopters to land safely. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
The darbar preparation work was mostly done by the Jamati members of all villages of Gojal-Hunza. Here volunteers and workers are being served lunch. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
Tractors are unloading sand for concrete and filling the field around the stage area in Aliabad. Photo: Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
The fields around the didargah are arable crop fields but spared only for darbar now with 70 plus kannal of land around. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
This gate at the Aliabad darbar site was designed by the Sost Council. It contains inscriptions from a Persian poem by Kokab Peshawari. It is in praise of Mawlana Hazar Imam and the poem is mostly versed into songs and qasidas for Hazar Imam. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
This gate in Aliabad was designed by the Shimshal Council. It contains the logo of the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) at top, above the words “Didar Mubarak”. On either side of the logo are heads of the Himalayan Ibex which is found in the higher mountain ranges of Hunza and Chitral. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
The security gate. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
Toilets facilities, and a volunteer busy fixing water taps. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
The darbar (or didargah) grounds in Aliabad, Hunza, with the Diamond Jubilee banner and the stage where work is still being done in the background. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan
A close-up of the the work-in-progress darbar stage. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan
Joyous occasion. A band, one of many, performs on a street in Aliabad, Hunza. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
One more time, and one more person in photo – the Gate everyone is talking about. Designed by Sost Council, this gate at the Aliabad darbar site contains inscriptions from a Persian poem by Kokab Peshawari. The poem is in praise of Mawlana Hazar Imam and is mostly versed into songs and qasidas paying tribute to Mawlana Hazar Imam. Photo: Faqir Ullah Khan.
Date posted: December 7, 2017.
Please watch Video: Mawlana Hazar Imam arrives in Pakistan at the Ismaili
Faqir Ullah Khan is originally from Passu, Hunza. He went to Karachi High School, and later studied Tourism and Hospital Management at Hazara University and COTHM, Pakistan, which offers international hospitality qualifications. Faqir is currently based in Abbotabad. Please visit his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/faqir.khan?ref=br_rs.
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Note: This blog, Barakah, is a special project of http://www.Simerg.com and has been undertaken to celebrate 60 years or the Diamond Jubilee of His Highness the Aga Khan.
Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.
Faqir Ullah thank you for bringing to the jamats around the world the preparation of your Jamat, with photographs and faces of our brothers and sisters who have lives so very different from ours. Yet our love for the Imam makes us one Jamat.
My heart warms up to see how many ways we show our love to Imam e Zaman. Tireless working volunteers give unconditionally just for the joy of giving. Just to be a part of this unique opportunity to put into practice our love, dedication and inexplicable love that emenates from our heart.
May this CHATRA CHAIA ever remain with us. May we give and dedicate our lives to the vision of Mowlana Hazar Imam.
We can feel the love within you for our Imam. Inspite of your circumstances, the amount of time, energy, sacrifice and dedication you put in your preparations is mind blowing. You all are truly blessed. Will be thinking of you all dear brothers and sisters. Diamond Jubilee Mubarak.
Excellent ! We could not do this in Canada. May Mawlana Hazar Imam bless you all with lots of BARAKAT and healthy living. Your unity and your band uniform are excellent..
The spirit of volunteerism is strong in all parts of the Ismaili world, as is everyone’s devotion to Mawlana Hazar Imam. I am confident that any Jamat in any part of the world would be able to carry out the work the Hunza jamat is doing under similar circumstances. We can do this is as Canadians, Americans, the British and the Europeans, the Indians, the Africans, the Syrians and Iranians, and our efforts would bear similar fruits as what has been accomplished by the Hunza and Chitral jamat. This is of course not to take away from their extraordinary accomplishment – and especially the physical challenges – they have had to endure in the last few weeks of preparing well for the visit. Bravo to the Hunza and Chitral jamats for their remarkable work. Didar Mubaraki to them and the Pakistan Jamat.
Wonderful work. Amazing the work people have done with so much love for OUR MAWLA. MUBARAK, MUBARAK, MUBARAK.
Amazing preparations. You have outdone us in the west. May you have the most amazing deedar. Our prayers with all our brothers and sisters. We love you and are thinking of you.
Reminds me of the time when my wife and I with another friend Sadru Mitha and his wife (now in Vancouver) visited Gilgit and Hunza in 1969 – that is 47 years ago. Also visited the area again in 1985 when it was much easier to move around and witness so many changes and improvements. I urge Ismailis of all ages – to visit Gilgit and drive to Hunza, the experience you will never forget.
During my trips, every few kilometers during the drive to Hunza, I was amazed to see buildings with red and green flags – these were the Jamatkhanas around where our community lived. I am hoping to get another opportunity to visit the area again – InshAllah
Today witnessing so much improvements in our Jamat in Northern Pakistan, we need to start exchange program of say 6 to 8 professional youths and business persons from Gilgit and Hunza area visiting East Africa, Canada or UK for a period of six to eight weeks. The group travelling would stay with Ismaili families and when a similar group from say East Africa or Canada travelled to Gilgit and Hunza, they would also stay with families there. We would learn so much from this Exchange Program.
A Group Exchange program of professionals/business persons was used by Rotary International for many years when Rotary clubs from one country would hosts a group from another country. The program proved most fruitful in building lasting relationships with some concrete and sustainable projects in the process.
Inspite of the lack of all the marvels of modern life, our diligent jamat is rising to the occasion to welcome their Mowla. I would think the security around the visit must be very tight. Perhaps, brother Faqir Ullah Khan can give us some details on his next update.
The gate is amazing!
Wishing you all Didar Mubarak! May all your wishes come true and you have boundless joy. Beautiful photos and write ups.
Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing.
Just look at the power of love here!
The aliabad gate by the SOST council is amazing.
Thanks for sharing.
Will be anticipating the next diary entry and set of images .
Such wonderful preparations for Mowla’s Diamond Jubilee. Shukhar Mowla. Mubarakis.
MUBARAK MUBARAK MUBARAK. So happy for you all. Cherish every moment in the presence of Mowla. DIAMOND JUBILEE MUBARAK.
Excellent pictures and write-up. May Mawlana Hazar Imam bless you all and grant you all immense happiness *barakah!