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Gilgit-Baltistan’s prominent flutist and Shehnai player Imtiaz Karim passes away

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Imtiaz Karim flute player from Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan

Imtiaz Karim, one of Gilgit-Baltistan’s prominent flute and traditional Shehnai (Suranai in Burushaski) players, passes away due to cardiac arrest. He was the co-founder of Hunza Classical Group and regularly performed at local and international events. He also toured China and Australia to represent the folk music of Pakistan.

According to a local source, Imtiaz Karim was heading home from work on Wednesday evening when he collapsed. The reason for his death was declared a cardiac arrest. He was 40.

Many music lovers from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral are showing their grief over the sudden death of a musician who not only introduced bamboo flute into the music industry of this region but also trained numerous young people under his apprenticeship.

Ghazi Karim, bandmate and close friend of Imtiaz Karim, posted on his Facebook account that it is a black day for Hunza Classical Group.

Ishtiaq Karim, his brother, requested his fans and friends to pray for the departed soul.

Video: Imtiaz Karim performs at Hunza Cultural Festival

Imtiaz Karim was a regular artist to perform at Hunza Cultural Festival held often in Islamabad by Hunza Cultural Forum (HCF). His most recent appearance was in January 2017 where he performed along the traditional Domaki musicians and his bandmates of Hunza Classical Group.

He had played for numerous artists including Shahid Akhtar Qalandar, Khalid Abbas Hassanabadi, Sherbaz Khan, Rahim Ullah Rahim and Jabir Khan Jabir among others. He also released four instrumental albums with Hunza Classical Group.

Imtiaz Karim was an employee of Baltit Fort managed by Baltit Heritage Trust. He left behind a widow and two sons.

Imtiaz Karim was laid to rest at the Baltit Graveyard in his hometown of Karimabad.

Read this article in Urdu

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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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