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First Ever Hunza Marathon Concludes in Karimabad

The much anticipated Hunza Marathon has concluded in Karimabad today. More than 200 local, national and international runners participated in 3 different categories; the 4th one being a practice-run to be arranged later this week down the hill from Khunjerab Pass. Prizes were distributed among the winners at a ceremony attended by Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and many others at Baltit Serena Inn.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Hunza Marathon 2016

The much anticipated Hunza Marathon has concluded in Karimabad today. More than 200 local, national and international runners participated in 3 different categories; the 4th one being a practice-run to be arranged later this week down the hill from Khunjerab Pass. Prizes were distributed among the winners at a ceremony attended by Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and many others at Baltit Serena Inn.

Starting at 5:00 AM in the morning, the 42-km long full marathon was kicked off. A total 7 laps were covered between Zero Point in Karimabad and Tutan Shun in Hyderabad town. The 10-km and 5-km long segments were started at 9:00 AM with the same starting and return points. The awards distribution and closing ceremony was held at Baltit Serena Inn later in the evening.

While talking to GBee.PK, Ziyad Rahim, who had first envisioned the Hunza Marathon, showed his satisfaction about the participation of runners and services of the volunteers. He said he is looking forward to continue the marathon next year with even better arrangements.”

Earlier, he talked about how he got to meet Mirza Ali and Samina Baig while they were returning from their Antarctica expedition.

“I met these two after their return from Antarctica. I shared the idea of a marathon in Hunza which they agreed to collaborate. We were lucky to have Serena Hotels as our main sponsor. Things were smoother than expected due to the collaboration.”

He added:

“I have seen great potential in the athletes of this region. I am sure with proper training, we can have world class runners from Hunza. We will continue the marathon as part of Pakistan Running Series.”

Babar Khan, who was one of the participants of the 5-km marathon was excited to finish the race, but at the same time he had some reservations about management. He said “There were some cases of mismanagement that I encountered during the race,” He added: “Since this was the first ever such marathon in the town, I expect a better event next year. I will participate again next time with better preparation.”

Ramiz Ali, another participant of the marathon was unhappy about the traffic which was not diverted or stopped during the marathon. He said that government should also take stake in such events and coordinate with the management for a better marathon experience. He pointed out that some of the runners of 5-km long marathon cheated by taking a ride in places where no management was present.

Medals and certificates were distributed among the winners by Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan. He showed his interest to support such events in the future.

The winners of Hunza Marathon are as under:

CateogryPositionNameCountry
Full Marathon Male (42-KM)WinnerSemjon ParkerGermany
Full Marathon Female (42-KM)WinnerNadine GillGermany
Half Marathon Male (10-km)WinnerRizwan KarimPakistan
Half Marathon Female (10-km)WinnerKishwar KarimPakistan
Half Marathon Male (5-km)WinnerSajid HussainPakistan
Half Marathon Female (5-km)WinnerNimla KarimPakistan

Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him of Twitter @ihunzai.

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In Pictures: His Highness Aga Khan’s First Visit to Hunza in 1960

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
Photos: Abdul M. Ismaily

On this day in 1960, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan made his historic first visits to Hunza and laid down the foundation of what we know as a model valley today. Since then, Hunza has come a long way and developed into a model valley for many. Every year on 23rd October, Ismailis of Hunza Valley celebrate this day as “Salgirah” to commemorate Aga Khan’s visit to Hunza for the first time.

During the first visit of His Highness Aga Khan to Hunza, photographer Abdul M. Ismaily took numerous photos that remained unseen for decades. However, in 2016, Simerg Photos released a number of pictures of this historic visit with the permission of Abdul M. Ismaily’s family.

On this happy occasion for the Ismailis of Hunza, GBee is pleased to share some of the photographs from Aga Khan’s first visit to Hunza in 1960.

Attached by pulley to the third cable was a wooden box, five feet square, with sides rising 18 inches. This was the only way to Hunza. The five journalists which included two Americans were horrified, and despite urging from Pir Ali Allana, the Aga Khan’s advance man, none would get into the box. Far across the river, men pulled on a rope, and, swaying and shaking, the box shot out over the swift-flowing stream of Hunza River. Today, the Nasirabad Bridge stands in this place.
Ismaili Volunteers with community leaders during the preparations to receive H.H. The Aga Khan at Baltit Polo Ground in Karimabad, Hunza.
Col. Ayash Khan, the brother of Mir Jamal Khan, the last royal ruler of Hunza, is seen standing in a uniform with members of the royal family of Hunza outside the royal palace in Hunza where His Highness the Aga Khan resided during his visit in 1960.
Aga Khan first visit to Hunza Valley 1960
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960

H.H. Aga Khan in conversation with Mir of Hunza.
Aga Khan in Hunza 1960
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AKAH Celebrates Global Handwashing Day 2019

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A Hunza school girl at Al Murtaza School in Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
AKAH in collaboration with other AKDN and government agencies is campaigning for “Clean Hands for All”. Photo: Imran Hunzai / AKDN

Aga Khan Agency of Habitat (AKAH) in close coordination with other Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) agencies, Government Departments, civil bodies and media groups celebrated Global Handwashing Day 2019. 

A number of activities and events were designed and organized at the school level across districts in Gilgit- Baltistan. These activities aimed at campaigning for better hygiene. 

school kids in Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee School Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
Global Handwashing Day 2019: Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, through its School Health Improvement Programme (SHIP), is sensitizing school children and management across vulnerable communities for hygienic practices, including handwashing with soap.
A Hunza kid washing hands
AKAH is spreading smiles through providing access to safe drinking water and educating communities for handwashing with soap, under its Water And Sanitation Education Programme (WASEP), to prevent diseases and save lives.
AKESP Global Handwashing Day 2019
Students at AKES, P school in Chatorkhand are demonstrating handwashing in an event organized to campaign for hygienic practices on Global Handwashing Day.
school kids in Al Murtaza School Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
The students of AKES, P school in Murtazabad Hunza are learning the steps of Handwashing with the help of health hygiene trainers.
Representatives of AKDN on Global Handwashing Day 2019
Representatives of AKDN agencies emphasized addressing “Handwashing disparities to prevent diseases and save lives”, in events organized to mark Global Handwashing Day, 2019.
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