The Deedar Reflection of H.H Aga Khan

By: Sultan Abbas

I attended Darbar in Hunza on 10 December. The moments of Deedar were electric. Bliss, it was to be there among more than a hundred thousand murids of Imam of the Time and listening to his luminous guidance was the heaven itself.

Together with everyone, I reaffirmed my unwavering and unconditional commitment to his spiritual authority and his absolute right to interpret the foundational tenets and ethics of Islam for the Ismaili community.

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While Hazir Imam can be seen on video, even physically, for example in a conference, but to catch a glimpse of him in Deedar settings was a completely different experience.

On social media, some of our people complained about the broken sound system and the lowered TV screens which disadvantaged many of the participants to see Hazir Imam on the big screen and so on.

I offer a different perspective. While waiting for his arrival I reflected as to what is it that I am waiting to witness and why should I respect this man?

I offer a different perspective. While waiting for his arrival I reflected as to what is it that I am waiting to witness and why should I respect this man? These and other perplexing questions arose in my mind. When Imam’s helicopter appeared and traveled in front of the majestic Rakaposhi the entire Jama’at was excited unbelievably. The Jama’at was longing for a mulaqat for several years. The chants of salwat and murmurs of individual tasbihs had created a mystical environment of pure joy, almost everyone dissolving into a seamless unity. I found myself melted and felt as if my individuality doesn’t exist anymore. I felt my ego annihilated and totally flattened. I felt as if I am part of a bigger universal whole. There was pure ecstasy in those few moments.

When Imam himself arrived in the Darbar and Quranic recitations and tasbihs were read in his presence I reflected on those questions earlier and found solace in the thought that our Imam represents a continuous tradition of the pursuit of justice and intellect spanning fourteen centuries. The Imam is a noted and a powerful global figure, heading a multi-million-dollar business empire, a wise man seeking international peace and reconciliation, seeking harmony within the various Muslim communities and between Islam and other Abrahmic faiths.

The Imam is a noted and a powerful global figure, heading a multi-million-dollar business empire, a wise man seeking international peace and reconciliation, seeking harmony within the various Muslim communities and between Islam and other Abrahmic faiths.

A man noted and celebrated globally for his humbleness, for his contributions in the fields of Islamic architecture, humanitarian work, and his commitment to improving the quality of life of his people and others in different parts of the world. Just a few weeks ago he was garlanded with Global Leadership Award by UN Sec General Antonio Guetters in the presence of former UN Sec General Kofi Anan. What does this tell us? It tells us and they are also signs of his nobility, his global reach, and recognition of his work, a head of state without a state.

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There in the Darbar, we were meeting a head of state, a star intellectual, a rich person, an embodiment of ethics of Islam all of these rolled into one single personality and the sheer force of this personality was so overpowering that I could not resist but cry with ecstasy for what he stands for, and there is reason enough for his followers to tread in his footsteps.

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His Highness Aga Khan in Pakistan

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif talking to Prince Karim Agha Khan upon his arrival at airport. APP photo by Irfan Mahmood
December 7, 2017

His Highness in Chitral

His Highness is observing Guard of Honor  

His Highness Aga Khan at Gilgit Airport

His Highness Aga Khan in Hunza

Happy Independence Day To all Pakistanis

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Eid Mubarak To All Muslims Around the World

Eid mubarak

Owner of tourist hotspot Cafe De Hunza passes away

Photograph by Lubna Javaid
Photograph by Lubna Javaid

Shafqat Ali, the owner of tourist hotspot Cafe de Hunza, passed away after cardiac arrest yesterday, according to reports on social media.

Cafe de Hunza is famous as a must-visit eatery in Hunza for tourists and is known to serve the Hunza Walnut Cake, a dense pastry-like cake with a caramel walnut filling.

The Hunza Walnut Cake at Cafe de Hunza — Photo by Sahar Habib
The Hunza Walnut Cake at Cafe de Hunza — Photo by Sahar Habib

Shafqat Ali made an immediate impression on his customers, many of whom took to Twitter to express their sadness at his unexpected demise.

The First Female Cyclist on Mountain Top

PHOTO: Samar Khan

PHOTO: Samar Khan

Samar Khan is the first woman in the world to have cycled on the 4,500-metre-high Biafo glacier in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Khan, a master’s in physics, enjoys  paragliding, trekking, and mountain climbing in addition to cycling, which she has a penchant for.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

In an interview with The Express Tribune, the 26-year-old from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa shares her journey to Biafo, her love for cycling and future plans.

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Khan made the trip in July, 2016. Due to paucity of resources, she couldn’t hire a company for her trip. Undeterred, Khan contacted professional mountain climber Asghar Hussain for her journey.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

Her month-long trip began on July, 24 when she left for Skardu. It took Khan 18 days and a dozen stops to reach Biafo.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

“The biggest challenge on a route like this is the elevation,” she said when asked about what she was most concerned about before the trip. Khan trained for six months before setting out for Biafo; she trekked on the weekends, routinely visited the gym and also followed a strict diet plan.

Khan developed an interest in cycling while at university. Her first major ride was from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass last year. Khan also cycled from Minar-i-Pakistan to Wagah border in Lahore, earlier this year along with other cyclists.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

Speaking of her love for cycling, Khan said it was easier to take up than other sports. “You don’t need a trainer, you don’t need very expensive equipment and you can ride in the rain or snow,” she said. “It’s pleasant, healthy and good for the environment,” Khan added.

Shedding light on public interest in the sport, Khan said people were taking  keen interest in cycling. “Many bikers joined me during my rides, some from Abottabad and from Babusar,” she said.  “People always get in touch; asking me how they can join a biking tour,” Khan added.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

Khan plans to join the national team and has been looking forward to more challenging tours around the country. She also plans to return to Biafo to visit places she missed earlier. Khan said she wanted people to see how stunning Pakistan was.

PHOTO: Samar Khan

Grateful for the support of her mother and siblings, Khan said poor mobile network coverage was the only drawback when it came to cycling in the Northern Areas. She expressed hope of coverage improving in G-B, saying that make it easier for her to remain in touch with her family.

Encouraging others who wish to take up cycling, Khan said the sport was not as unsafe as commonly perceived. Instead of being dissuaded by someone, “experience it yourself” she counselled to conclude.source

Will Hafiz End the Darkness in Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit: One of the most acute problems of Gilgit-Baltistan is severe shortage of electricity and negligence and ignoring of successive Pakistani government to improve the situation in Gilgit-Baltistan. This time, would Hafiz Ur Rehman, CM of GB is able to convince and extract required funds and resources from his parties Federal Govt. To end this epidemic.

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Addressing and chairing a meeting in Gilgit Mr. Hafiz Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur Rehman says nine hydro-power projects are being established in the region on priority to overcome electricity shortages. Chairing a meeting in Gilgit, he said on completion these projects will add two hundred and fifty megawatt electricity to the system by 2020.