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Gilgit-Baltistan Celebrates 69th Independence Day

Gilgit-Baltistan celebrated its 69th independence day on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The celebrations included various government and private organizations across Gilgit-Baltistan holding events to remember the sacrifices made by Gilgit Scouts to liberate the region from Dogra Raj.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Gilgit-Baltistan Independence Day

Gilgit-Baltistan celebrated its 69th independence day on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The celebrations included various government and private organizations across Gilgit-Baltistan holding events to remember the sacrifices made by Gilgit Scouts to liberate the region from Dogra Raj.

On first November 1947, Governor Ghansara Singh of was overthrown by Major William Brown. Major Brown had been serving as a commander for Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. After successfully overthrowing the Hindu Dogra rule, Raja Shah Rais Khan was appointed the first president of Gilgit-Baltistan while Mirza Hassan Khan was given responsibilities of the commander-in-chief.

 

The interim government lasted for only a forth-night before Pakistan sent its first political agent Khan Mohammad Alam Khan, who was a Tehsildar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (then N.W.F.P.). He took over the administration of Gilgit upon his arrival. Eventually, other princely states dissolved and became part of Gilgit agency, Hunza being the last one to mark its accession with Pakistan in 1974. Even though Pakistan took control of Gilgit-Baltistan (then Northern Areas) soon after its own independence, the region is still seeking constitutional rights.

Shah Rais Khan(Left), Mirza Hassan (middle) and Babar Khan (Right)

The independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan is celebrated every year on 1st November. People of Gilgit-Baltistan pay tribute to the heroes of freedom in their speeches and on social media. However, there has always been only a little coverage by Pakistan’s mainstream print and electronic media.

Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman attended the independence day celebrations at Chinaar Baagh in Gilgit where march past and flag hoisting was ceremonies were held.

Read this article in Urdu

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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Campaigning in schools for better hygiene on Global Handwashing Day

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Kids perform at Global Handwashing Day 2019 in Gilgit

The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), in collaboration with other agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), government agencies and voluntary bodies, facilitated events in schools across Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan to celebrate Global Handwashing Day. These activities aimed at raising awareness about healthy and hygienic practices including the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. 

The theme for Global Handwashing Day 2019 is “Clean Hands for All,” reminding us that the simple message of proper handwashing for better health has yet to be spread to all. In local schools and communities awareness-raising sessions, handwashing demonstrations and school plays have reached around 5,000 students, parents, and school faculty.

Children and schools play a key role in spreading greater awareness about health and hygiene. In over 600 communities in Pakistan, AKAH has implemented health and hygiene education through its School Health Improvement Programme, benefitting over half a million people.

Nawab Ali Khan, AKAH CEO stated:

“AKAH has reached over half a million people through its health and hygiene education programme focusing on personal, domestic and environmental hygiene and the numbers increase every year. Handwashing is a key component of our health and hygiene programme and this year we are celebrating it as a complement to the prime minister’s vision of clean and green Pakistan.”

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