LAHORE: The echoes of the merciless terrorist attack on the Agakhani Ismailis, a major Shia community having presence in more than 25 countries of Africa, Europe, Australia and North America, will be heard for a very long time to come as over 15 million followers of Prince Karim Aga Khan IV have suddenly been left to mourn the tragic loss of dozens of precious lives in Karachi.
Born on December 13, 1936 in Geneva, Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini or Aga Khan IV is the current and 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslims. canada goose parka He has a deep emotional attachment with Pakistan because he happens to be the grandson of the Karachi born Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah or Aga Khan III (1877 1957), who was one of the founders and the first President of the All India Muslim League in 1906.
Hailing from the family of an 18th century Persian king Fath Ali Shah, the title of “His Highness” was bestowed upon Prince Karim Aga Khan by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in 1957, when he had succeeded his grandfather at the age of 20.
Prince Karim Aga Khan’s father Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan (1911 1960) had served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, where he had also gone on to become the Vice President of the General Assembly and Chairman of the UN Peace Observation Committee. He had gained more fame by marrying famous American actress Rita Hayworth.
“Aga Khan” is a name being used by Ismaili spiritual leaders since 1818. The current Aga Khan’s first wife Sarah Croker Poole or Begum Salimah Aga Khan had visited Lahore about 15 years ago and this correspondent had conducted her exclusive interview for “the News International.”
Begum Salimah Aga Khan, a former model, had received over $30 million as a divorce settlement, along with some $27 million worth of jewellery, after her 25 year marriage with Aga Khan had ended in 1995.
At partition, Pakistan had a very low industrial base that constituted just four per cent of the GDP because it had neither inherited an industrial economy, nor was its services sector developed to any desirable extent. the Memons, the Dawoodi Bohras, the Khojas, Punjabi Sheikhs and the Chiniotis.
Having led the Harvard University Development Advisory Service, Professor Papanek had undertaken a study that had revealed that of the 42 major industrial houses that had met magnificent success in Pakistan after its birth, only a few groups such as Hoti, Premier, Packages, Ghulam Farooq, Colony and Noon etc had roots in this part of the undivided India.
This study, which was conducted a few decades ago, had found out that the Agakhani Isamili community had migrated to India in 1840, and had set up its headquarters in Bombay. Other historians claim the Ismailis had migrated to Gwadar city in 1799. But centuries before that, the Ismailis had played a pivotal role in the establishment of the globally acclaimed University of al Azhar in Cairo. Kassim’s business extended to Europe through a Swiss company Messrs Volkart Brothers. gooseonsale Seth Kassim opened many branches of his firm in Sindh and had erected a big factory in Lyari quarter, Karachi to dye leather. In 1917, he had founded the Khoja Ismailia Trading Company with a reserve capital of Rs5 million.
And since then, the Aga Khan Health Service has financed 164 health centres, seven hospitals, maternity home, two medical centres, a physiotherapy unit and seven community dental units to reach over 581,000 people in rural and urban Sindh, Punjab and many parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Few projects undertaken by the Aga Khan Development Network in Pakistan since 1967 include the International Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development, the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, the Aga Khan Cultural Services Programme, the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy, the Balochistan Early Childhood Development Project, the Northern Areas Education Development Improvement Programme, the Building and Construction Improvement Programme, the Chitral Child Survival Project, the Water Supply and Sanitation Extension Programme in Northern Areas, the Northern Areas Community Health Programme and the Flood Relief Programme etc.
Today, several Ismaili community centres operate in London, Burnaby (Canada), Lisbon, Dubai, Dushanbe and Toronto. Meanwhile, the Ismaili centre in Dubai is built on land donated by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Wednesday carnage: Second act of violence against community in Pakistan
The deadly Wednesday morning attack on the Ismaili Agakhani community in Karachi is the second worst incident of its kind since 1982, when over 60 members of this minority sect were killed by a mob in the picturesque Chitral Valley.
Some 33 years ago, an enraged and unruly crowd had set ablaze the Ismaili community buildings in Chitral, including their “Jamaat Khana” or place of worship.
In August 2013, twin hand grenade attacks had killed at least two Ismailis and wounded 28 others in Karachi.
According to law enforcement agencies, some unidentified people had thrown hand grenades inside two different places of worship of Agakhanis in the port city.
Newspaper archives reveal that in February 2014, the Pakistani Taliban had announced an armed struggle against the indigenous Kalash tribe and Ismaili Muslims in Chitral, which was once dominated by members of this sect.
The 50 minute long Taliban video was released on February 2, 2014 on their media wing’s website. In this video message, the Taliban had warned the Kalash tribe to convert to Islam or face death and had condemned the Aga Khan Foundation creating an “Israel like” state in Chitral.
It is imperative to note that the famous Kalash tribe comprises of 3,500 members only and is currently plagued with gender based violence and many women have consequently committed suicides in recent years.
It was due to this reason that in August 2013, the then Deputy Inspector General of Police, Malakand range, Haji Abdullah Khan, had established women desks in the Chitral police stations to check gender based violence and reduce the rising tendency of suicide.