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Speech at the Annual Dinner of the Pakistan Society 1962-05-23

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Event - 1962-05-23
Wednesday, 1962, May 23
Aga Khan IV (H.H. Prince Karim)

(The Pakistan Society, London held its annual dinner in May 1962 and requested His Royal Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan to be the chief guest. The president of the society, Lt. Gen. Muhammed Yousif, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in U.K, welcoming His Royal Highness eulogized the efforts of the Aga Khans in the establishment of Pakistan and paid tributes to their work for the well-being of the world of Islam. He also said, “there are innumerable institutions organized by your ancestors in that part of the sub-continent which is now Pakistan and we know the great help which your community is giving to the development of our country.”

His Royal Highness replying to the toast proposed by the President, said:

“The Pakistan Society had done me a great honour in asking me to answer the President’s Toast on behalf of the guests. I would like to say immediately that I accepted the Pakistan Society’s invitation because it means a great deal to me personally, and also has meant, that is our connection with Pakistan, a great deal to my late Grandfather and my late father. Of all the countries which have given refuge to my community if they needed it, Pakistan has been one of the countries which has welcomed us the most openly and most warmly.

As this is the Annual Dinner of the Pakistan Society, I cannot think of a more appropriate time to say a few words about my community in Pakistan.

Everyone knows that we are a small minority in a vast population. We are also Shia Muslims in a majority which is Sunni.
However, I think it is a very great tribute to the general unity of Islam all over the world and also to the particular breadth of mind of the Muslims of Pakistan that, whether one be Sunni or Shia or Bohora or Ismaili, no sane person could talk of discrimination.

Much to the contrary, each individual is free to practise his religion and run his life as he see fit so long as, naturally, he obeys the laws of the country.

But perhaps even more important is the fact that in recent years, Pakistan has made enormous economic progress and the Ismailis as a community have felt strongly the impetus of this progress. An extremely large number of us left India after partition and came to Pakistan with practically no money whatsoever, and very few belongings.

Today many of the refugees have been soundly rehabilitated and in my own community I think I can only say that those who were refugees, without family, foundation or home in 1947 are now settled and have embarked earnestly on raising their standards of living and those of their children.

May I add in the presence of Mr. Shoaib that this progress has been achieved despite the fact that the population has risen by twelve million people in five years and I cannot pay a great tribute than by pin-pointing this fact publicly, but I must add to finish that my tribute is not unbiased. My late Grandfather was born in Karachi. He worked for independent Muslim votes in India and when those votes were given, the fact was accepted that there were, in fact, two nations in India, a Muslim nation and a Hindu nation. My late father was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations and it was during his term in this office that he was killed.

On behalf of myself personally, therefore and my family and my community, and all the guests present, I would like to thank the Pakistan Society for their very fine and warm reception and I would like to tell the President personally how very happy I have been to be able to attend, and may I finish by saying “Pakistan Zindabad.”

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