Dacca, East Pakistan

January 26, 1970


At a Luncheon in Honour of His Royal Highness The Aga Khan and Her Royal Highness Princess Salimah.

We are indeed very grateful to Your Royal Highness for honouring us by your presence at our function this afternoon. That you have done so, in spite of your numerous other pre-occupations, is indeed a matter of pride for all of us. We are also grateful to our other guests whose presence has added lustre to this gathering.

Sir, your illustrious family is closely identified with the aims and aspirations of the millions of Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent, and we will always remember the noble role played by the late Sir Aga Khan, your illustrious grandfather, during the struggle for the achievement of our objectives. The need to advance the cause of Muslim education was realised by Him very early on, and He associated Himself with Aligarh University, the cradle of the Indo-Pakistan Muslim renaissance. His contribution to the formation of the University is well known and is a matter of proud historic record.

Your late father, Prince Aly Khan, had a very special regard for our country and, as Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations He ably supported our cause in the World Council.

We are also very heartened by your recent speech at Jamrud where you stressed that the people of Pakistan had a right upon you. Let me assure you, that this feeling is mutual. You occupy a very special place in Pakistan and in her people's affection.

The foresight and sagacity of Sir Aga Khan were instrumental in setting up two large Jute Mills in Khulna in the mid-fifties. You have continued the good work by establishing the Industrial Promotion Services and the Jessore Jute Industries. We are sure that under your guidance these enterprises will play a constructive role in East Pakistan's economic growth.

In the mural behind us, the entire process of jute growing, from the field to the finished goods, has been depicted. Jute and jute manufacturing industry together form the sheet anchor of Pakistan's economy. Ever since independence, jute and jute goods have laid the foundations and paved the way towards our country's economic growth. Together they have been Pakistan's chief foreign exchange earners since our country was founded.

This year, if the wheels of industry keep moving smoothly, our jute industry will have the honour of being the largest foreign exchange earner in the country, a position which has so long been enjoyed by raw jute. This is the first time that an industry in Pakistan will have achieved this commendable record, and it is all the more gratifying since this honour will come to an industry in East Pakistan.

...Before I conclude, I would like to specially thank Begum Aga Khan for gracing this luncheon. Her presence has encouraged us to invite a large number of charming ladies. This is also a PJMA first as, to my knowledge, never has any Association event been graced by ladies - only by crusty businessmen.

I would now request Your Royal Highness to kindly address this gathering.

Source: Ismaili Mirror Souvenir 1970

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