Pakistan Awards Nishan-i-Pakistan To Prince Rahim Aga Khan

He was honoured with the award for outstanding contributions to Pakistan's development

Pakistan Awards Nishan-i-Pakistan To Prince Rahim Aga Khan
Pakistan Awards Nishan-i-Pakistan To Prince Rahim Aga Khan
Pakistan Awards Nishan-i-Pakistan To Prince Rahim Aga Khan
Pakistan Awards Nishan-i-Pakistan To Prince Rahim Aga Khan

President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday awarded Prince Rahim Aga Khan the Nishan-i-Pakistan award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Pakistan's development, prosperity, and welfare.

The award was conferred at an investiture ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad on Friday. Senate Chairman Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, federal ministers, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Faisal Karim Kundi, parliamentarians, diplomats, and other senior government officials attended the ceremony.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan is the elder son of Prince Karim Aga Khan, the 49th spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community. 

A citation read out on the occasion highlighted Prince Rahim's relentless efforts, spanning over two decades, to improve the living standards of marginalised communities in Asia and Africa through his leadership roles within the Aga Khan Development Network.

His contributions have significantly impacted these communities' economic, health, education, and cultural well-being, upholding a legacy of philanthropy and development.

Under Prince Rahim's leadership, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development has pioneered initiatives in Pakistan, advancing commercial banking, microfinance, insurance, sustainable tourism, and renewable energy sectors. These efforts have enabled nearly 50 million people in Pakistan to access financial services. As the founding chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network's Climate and Environment Committee, Prince Rahim has championed environmental stewardship policies and best practices to address climate change issues. He also generously supported the people of Pakistan after the devastating 2022 floods.

The ceremony also acknowledged the Aga Khan family's historical contributions to the Muslims of India, their role in the formation of the All India Muslim League, and their support for the creation of Pakistan.

The Nishan-i-Pakistan award is a testament to Prince Rahim's unwavering commitment to Pakistan's development and the well-being of its people. His dedication to improving lives and fostering sustainable growth has left an indelible mark on the country, inspiring future generations to follow in his footsteps.

Prior to the ceremony, Prince Rahim held a brief meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The Aga Khan Family and Pakistan

Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan, the great-grandfather of Prince Rahim Aga Khan, was the first president of the All India Muslim League (AIML) and chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. These organisations eventually became the cornerstones of the Muslim emancipation movement in the Subcontinent, which culminated in the creation of a Muslim majority Pakistan.

Prince Karim Aga Khan, the father of Prince Rahim Aga Khan, is always referred to as a staunch supporter of Pakistan who helped Pakistan on several occasions during times of crisis. Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan assisted the Pakistan government, led by Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon, to procure the Gwadar port from Oman and paid a sizable amount for it. He also helped Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in managing the affairs of the newly created state. His elder son, Prince Ali Salman Khan, served as Pakistan's ambassador to the UNO.

Prince Karim Aga Khan established the Aga Khan Development Network, which is working in remote areas of the country without any discrimination.

The Pakistan government has bestowed Prince Karim Aga Khan with Nishan-e-Pakistan, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, in addition to various international awards.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.