CHITRAL: Preparations are in full swing here for receiving Prince Karim Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslim community, who is scheduled to arrive in the second week of December in connection with the golden jubilee celebrations of his Imamat.

A source in the Ismaili regional council of Chitral, requesting not to be named, told this scribe that the followers of Ismaili sect would have a sight of their spiritual leader in Booni and Garam Chashma, for which two Didaar Gaahs (place of sighting) were near completion.

He said that Aga Khan would deliver sermons at both the venues which would be the zenith of the congregations. He said that invitation cards had been sent to the pilgrims as only the cardholders would be able to enter the Didaar Gaah. The residents of villages located near the venues had already volunteered to host the pilgrims coming from distant places.

After his accession to Imamat in 1957, Aga Khan visited Chitral in 1976, 1983 and 2003 and during each visit congregations of his followers were held in Booni and Garam Chashma.

Khosh Murad, a member of Ismaili community from Booni, said that this time the arrival of the leader was being given more importance than before as it formed the part of golden jubilee celebrations. He said that the Jammat Khanas (worship places) in the region had been decorated for the occasion.

He said that members of the Sunni community were also extending help to the Ismaili community to accomplish different tasks, including construction of the sighting places. “This is a positive development and will promote communal harmony,” he said.

Nazir Hussain Shah of Yarkhoon valley said that Ismaili people working outside Chitral district had started arriving here to take part in the celebrations.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2017

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