January 9, 1987

Mowlana Hazir Imam's Visit to Bangladesh

During the month of December 1986 when the Jamat in Bangladesh received the news that Mowlana Hazir Imam is going to visit Bangladesh in early January 1987 their hearts filled with hapiness, joy and excitement. Soon they became busy in preparation of the visit. Sultanabad Jamat Khana of Dhaka was selected and renovated for deedar.

Mowlana Hazir Imam was accorded a rousing welcome when he arrived at Dhaka's Zia International Airport at 3:30 in the afternoon on the 6th January. President Hussain Muhammed Ershad, Prime Minister Mizanur Rahman Choudhury, Deputy Prime Minister Moudud Ahmad, ministers, members of diplomatic corps and leaders & members of the Ismaili community received him at the airport. Arrangements were made for the whole Jamat to be present at the airport. After the airport ceremonies Mowlana Hazir Imam went to the State Guest House "Shugandha" with President Ershad.

In the evening President Ershad hosted a dinner in the honour of Mowlana Hazir Imam at the Presidency "Bangabhaban" which was attended by Vice President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Ministers, Chiefs of three services, high civil and military officials and prominent members of the Ismaili community in Bangladesh. Speaking on the ocassion President Ershad said that harmonious international environment was an essential prerequisite for economic development for our people. He said we quest for peace and we seek friendship and cooperation of all nations. As a predominantly Muslim country Bangladesh is naturally dedicated to the cause of Islaimic unity and welfare and progress of the Islamic Ummah". Referring to Bangladesh's endeavour to achieve a balanced agricultural and industrial development he said that we recognize the important role private sector can play in the improvement of our economy. He said that we believe that natural talent of the people should be allowed to bloom and initiative of individuals should remain unobstructed. We encourage private investors - both Bangladeshi and foreign - to contribute to the industrialization of our country.

The President said that generous incentives had been provided by the Government to domestic and foreign investors while the adminitrative mechinery had been directed to respopnd to the needs and requirements of the investors.

He hoped that Ismaili community would feel encouraged to join hands with his government and the people in the economic uplift of Bangladesh. He said "I am sure the dynamism, entrepreneurship and business acumen, displayed by your community in other countries will find equal measure of excellence in Bangladesh as well".

Paying tributes to Mowlana Hazir Imam, the President said that "the invaluable contribution of your illustrious family to the cause of suffering humanity particularly of this sub-continent is recorded in history". He said "we are hopeful of your continued interest in furtherance of progress of the people of a developing country like ours".

In his speech Mowlana Hazir Imam held out the assurance that the Aga Khan network of institutions and programmes in the economic, social and cultural field will seek to continue to play their role here in Bangladesh as elsewhere in South Asia.

He observed that only a quarter of a century ago, experts on world development problems predicted that much of South Asia was destined indefinately to desperate poverty and starvation. Fortunately they have been proved wrong for though many of these countries are not rich they are slowly coming to grips with basic national health problems, and are showing genuine quantifiable development results.

Next morning, Mowlana Hazir Imam met the Prime Minister, Vice President of Bangladesh and the secretary of SAARC individually. He also visited the National Martyrs Mausaleum and placed a wreath to the memory of Martyrs. In the afternoon he visited Sultanabad Jamat Khana, and graced the Jamat with his holy Deedar. In the evening Wazir Roshan Ali Hirji, President of Ismailia Supreme Council for Bangladesh gave a dinner in the honour of Mowlana Hazir Imam which was attented by the leaders of the Jamat.

On 8th January at 10:30 in the morning Mowlana Hazir Imam again visited Sultanabad Jamat Khana, and graced the Jamat with his hold Deedar. He also met Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and Planning Minister separately. In the evening Mowlana Hazir Imam gave a banquet in honour of President Ershad at Sonargaon Hotel which was attended by the Prime Minister, Ministers, ambassadors, elite of the city and the leaders of the Ismaili community.

On 9th January President Ershad, along with some ministers met Mowlana Hazir Imam and discussed wide ranging co-operation in economic and social fields of Bangladesh through participation of recently created Aga Khan Fund for development and the Aga Khan Foundation. Mowlana Hazir Imam showed keen interest in a number of projects.


Following is the gist of guidance given by Mowlana Hazir Imam to Bangladesh Jamat during his Mulaqat with them on 7th and 8th January 1987.

After giving blessings to Bangladesh Jamat and to those who had come from outside, he expressed his happiness to be in Bangladesh again. He wished them happiness and success.

He sais that if the quality of education is not suitably high that does not relieve the younger members of the Jamat from seeking the best education. He asked them not to accept mediocrity but to base on a sound academic foundation.

As regard to language he said that national language is important and the second important language is English whose dominance is increasing. He told the students that if after secondary education they can't find access to the institutions of higher education, they should contact the leaders of the Jamat so that they could be helped with scholarships. He asked them not to come for help for a course not useful for them in the years ahead and also if they are not serious in their commitments.

He told the Jamat that in the years ahead there should be maximum unity in the Jamat in the true spirit of Islamic brotherhood.

He urged the professionals to continue their education since everyday there is something new to learn. He asked them not to turn their back to the concept of continuing education and not to remain static.

Pointing towards the social bad habits such as smoking, drug abuse, alcohol or living in an improper manner he strongly urged the Jamat to avoid them since they bring ill health and unhappiness.

At the end of Farman he gave his blessings for unity, good health, long life, worldly hapiness, spiritual hapiness, strength of faith, Mushkil Asan, elimination of all problems and for the fulfilment of all their wishes.


After spending three eventful days, when Mowlana Hazir Imam left Dhaka on the 9th about noon time, he was seen off by the President, Prime Minister, Ambassadors, elite of the city and the leaders of the Ismali community. Summing up his visit before emplaning he said "my impression is that many of the development problem of Bangladesh are being properly addressed to". He also said "Insha Allah, my community and institutions that we run will be able to make increased participation in resolving some of the development problems of Bangladesh".


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