Over 10 days in November 1994, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended events marking a new phase in the future of institutions of the Imamat in Pakistan.
At the start of an official visit at the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, accompanied by Prince Amyn and Princess Zahra, was received at Islamabad Airport by Pakistan's President, Sardar Farook Ahmed Khan Leghari, and senior government ministers.
NEW DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS ANNOUNCED The National Library was the venue for the first official engagement, an event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan). In his speech at the function, Mawlana Hazar Imam announced the creation of a rural development bank to promote and finance a full range of business investments and an enterprise support company, which will advise individuals or groups of people who wish to be involved in entrepreneurial and investment activities in northern Pakistan.
The new bank, Hazar Imam said, would professionalize credit management and build upon the savings of village and women's organizations created under the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, founded in 1982 and now a model for rural development internationally. The enterprise support company, like the bank, is designed to become fully self-sustaining based on the potential for diversified economic development in Northern Pakistan.
"The Aga Khan Development Network," Hazar Imam continued, "recognizes the critical need for long-term growth and employment: we believe it is best met by private individuals investing their own resources in these endeavours. The genius of the Third World is in its peoples," Mawlana Hazar Imam noted. "In their diversity, vitality, creativity an resilience, they represent the hope for the future and the greatest of the many resources available. The challenge is to create the conditions of confidence, predictability and mutual trust that will enable people and institutions to reach their full potential."
"The enabling environment works," said Hazar Imam. "Where there is support, encouragement and trust from Governments, both the private sector and Non-Governmental Organizations will flourish." The record, he said, clearly demonstrated the benefits of policies and programs that enabled, and that encouraged people to bring out their best.
Mawlana Hazar Imam paid tribute to the Government of Pakistan for its contribution to harnessing the energy of people in the private sector to work for sustainable development and positive social change. He thanks the Government for enabling the Aga Khan Foundation to receive the support of international donor agencies and acknowledged their co-operation as well as the "extraordinary generosity of individuals in Pakistan and elsewhere." Citing some of the achievements arising out of this co-operation, including starting a university, building a major hospital, creating self-help income generation activities and building schools, Hazar Imam asked: "With this as a prologue, what might we be able to achieve in the next 25 years?'
Addressing the gathering, President Sardar Farook Ahmed Khan Leghari spoke of the lasting contribution made by the institutions of the Aga Khan Development Network to Pakistan's people and their future. These institutions, said the President, "encourage self reliance, set examples and quality standards and serve as role models. Governments cannot be the sole providers of social services. private energies and interest must be involved and harnessed," said the President.
"The energies unleashed by public and private partnership and complementary efforts of the private sector are enormous and crucial." Speaking of the new bank and enterprise company, the President said, "The government welcomes the new innovations proposed, recognizes the need for them and supports these efforts wholeheartedly."
The guests at the function saw a multi-projector slide presentation of Network activities in Pakistan. Later, President Leghari officially opened a photographic exhibition depicting the environments and people amongst whom AKF (Pakistan) has worked over the past 25 years. Hazar Imam and the President also viewed a computerized photo-retrieval system managed by AKF in Geneva.
The same afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam had separate meetings at the State Guest House, Rawalpindi, with various Government Ministers and Ambassadors who called on him. Later, Hazar Imam hosted a reception a the State Guest House which was attended by Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of Diplomatic Missions. In the evening, President Leghari hosted a dinner in honor of Mawlana Hazar Imam at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President's official residence, at which the guests included members of the Cabinet, senior Government officials and Members of the National Assembly.
MULAQUAT WITH JAMAT Making an exception to his scheduled program, Mawlana Hazar Imam had a mulaquat with the jamat assembled in Islamabad. The mulaquat was, for many members of the jamat from Afghanistan, their first with the Imam of the Time. Following upon coming amidst a period of much political turmoil in the history of the country, the mulaquat permitted the Afghan jamat to appreciate the importance to them, as to the jamat of Tajikistan, of securing peace in their respective countries as the first priority. The period until they were able to return to peaceful country would be an important opportunity for those jamats to prepare for a sound future through good education, mutual support within the tradition of Islam and desirable choices of economic activity. the preparation would, Insh'Allah, enable those jamats to re-establish themselves in meritocratic, pluralistic, free market economies in whose rehabilitation the Imamat institutions could contribute, once peace returned.
SIGNING OF ACCORD WITH GOVERNMENT The same afternoon, Mawlana Hazar Imam and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto signed an Accord of Co-operation for Development between the Government of Pakistan and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). the Accord recognized the AKDN's "long and unique contribution to development in Pakistan," consolidates the status of existing Network institutions and further facilities the acceleration of socio-economic and cultural development in the country. Following the signing of the Accord, Prince Amyn and Pakistan's Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Makhdoom Shab-ud-Din, signed a Protocol of Co-operation for Development. The Protocol formalizes enabling conditions enjoyed by non-profit institutions of the Network which are similar to those normally granted to credible and effective international philanthropic institutions.
The Accord and Protocol follow similar agreements and the provision of enabling conditions, over the past three years, in other countries in which the Network is active, including, Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
KARACHI The Governor of Sindh, Mr. Mahmound A. Haroon, was at Karachi Airport to receive Mawlana Hazar Imam, Prince Amyn and Princess Zahra upon their arrival, and to escort them to Governor House in Karachi where a dinner was held in their honor the same evening. The several hundred guests attending the function enjoyed a varied cultural entertainment program of music and recitals representing the rich traditions of Sindhi folklore and religious poetry.
In the course of the week that he was in Karachi, Mawlana Hazar Imam attended meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University (AKU) as well as a series of functions marking AKU's 10th anniversary. These functions included various meeting with donors to AKU, many of whom had travelled from across the world the anniversary celebrations. At AKU, Hazar Imam toured the campus with administrators and architects and also met with staff and faculty as well as with graduating students. Mawlana Hazar Imam also attended two formal functions at the campus, a tea and a Dinner, which were attended by large numbers of donors.
EXPANSION OF FACILITIES AT AKU
Hazar Imam laid the foundation stone of the extension to the School of Nursing in the presence of members of the Feerasta family and the President of the Soneri Bank, who have donated very generously to the Rufaida Al-Aslamiya Building. The building is named after Rufaida, who tended to the sick and the wounded in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and who is recognized as the first nurse in Islamic history. Another foundation stone laid by Mawlana Hazar Imam was that of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Unit, attended by members of the Mohammed Ali Hadi family which donated the Unit. The Unit will both enhance the clinical capabilities of the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and AKU's teaching and research strengths, especially whilst there remains a critical shortage of radiologists in Pakistan. AKU has one of the country's few post-graduate programs in radiology. Hazar Imam also inaugurated an Expanded Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery Program, which will permit cardiac catheterization and open heart surgery to be performed at AKUH.
(Source: Ismaili Canada March 1995)
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