By Jamil Nagri
Dressed in a warm woollen jacket, Didar Karim, 70, a resident of Hussainabad in the Gojal valley of upper Hunza, arrived in Aliabad, Hunza, using special transport arrangements for the Ismaili community living in upper Hunza to perform his religious rites at the didargah.
He shares that he is eager to view the Hazir Imam, and despite the cold weather (approaching minus 10 degrees) had readily made the 60km journey to Aliabad.
The area has been decorated ahead of the Aga Khan`s arrival, and the shops, homes and vehicles have been playing traditional anthems for several days. The Ismaili community of Gilgit-Baltistan have completed preparations for their spiritual leader`s arrival in GB. The mountains surrounding Gilgit, Hunza and Ghizer have been lit up with the words,`Welcome Hazir Imam, Didar Mubarak`, painted in white. Amid reports of fluctuating voltage in Aliabad, Hunza and Ghizer because of the spike in electricity usage, residents of Asgardas, Samair and Shayar in Nagar district have voluntarily gifted their share of electricity for three days to Aliabad during the Aga Khan`s visit.
The didar rituals will take place at two places set up in Aliabad in Hunza, and Yasin in Ghizer. On Sunday morning, the Aga Khan is expected to meet his followers at a special congregation in Yasin, and later in Aliabad.
Salman, a young boy participating in a cleanness drive, said everyone from his community had taken part in preparing for the celebrations. “This is a special occasion in our lives when our Hazir Imam gives us the opportunity of didar,” he said. All main roads and public places in Hunza and Ghizar have been decorated with welcoming messages. Volunteers of the community have been working round-the-clock to make the necessary arrangements prior to the imam`s arrival.
The Aga Khan will deliver special sermons at both the venues. It is compulsory to have an invitation card in order to be able to attend the didar. The residents of villages surrounding the venues have already volunteered to host followers arriving from distant places.
Special programmes have been organised in Danyor, Raheemabad of Gilgit and Karimabad, Sost and other areas of Hunza to celebrate the arrival of the spiritual leader. The spiritual leader is on a 12-day visit to Pakistan on the invitation of the government.–Dawn
By Jamil Nagri