Soon after Pakistan was created on 14th August 1947 everyone got busy in building it and finding out the ways of the newly country. Defense, finance, education, science, agriculture,foreign affairs and in fact there was hectic activity in all fields to find out how bestthe country would progress and flourish. While the basics were being attended a need was felt to make it look pretty as country has inherent beauty and glamour.
In April 1948 pioneers Mr. A K Khan (Horticulturist), Sir Harold Shoobert (Secretary Food & Agriculture Government of Pakistan) and Mr. Abdus Sattar Pirzada (Minister of Food & Agriculture Government of Pakistan) sat in Pakistan Secretariat's barrack number 16 and founded a society to generate the interest of horticulture, gardening and other nature oriented disciplines amongst the citizens and make the country more beautiful, colorful and fragrant. In this instance they called it " Pakistan Agri-Horticulture Society" and elected Sir Harold Shoobert. Mr. T D Vehra and Mr. A K Khan as its Convener, Secretary and Treasurer cum Joint Secretary respectively.
On 23rd September 1949 it was renamed as Horticultural Society of Pakistan. Then the Governor General of Pakistan was elected as Patron in Chief and Governors as Patrons. Mr. Abdus Sattar Pirzada, Sir Harold Shoobert, Mr. S G Lanewala and Mr. A K Khan were elected as its President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer cum Joint Secretary respectively. Narcissus commonly known as Nargis then the National flower of the country was adopted for logo.As the national flower of Pakistan changed from Narcissus to Jasminum grandiflorum, commonly known as "Chambeli" the H.S.P. at their golden jubilee in 1998, responded the change and came up with a new logo showing both flowers.
After establishment in 1948 and representation at first Islamic industrial exhibition in 1949 the caravan never stopped nor looked back and the first Pakistan flower, fruit and vegetable show was organized in 1950, gardening classes for gardeners in1951 and the first publication of society in the form of a magazine came out in 1952 and the same year the society made its international debut when Mr. A.K. Khan represented Pakistan in 13th International horticultural congress held at London and got elected as member of the international committee for Horticulture and Nomenclature broyeur bosch.
The nascent society which was only five years old, in 1953 demanded land for botanical garden and meantime started in helping government agencies in converting the big parks like Burns garden, Frere Hall and Zoological garden into a botanical garden. At that period lot of new plants species were introduced by devoted members in the country.
H S P started specially designed gardening classes in 1962 for educated gents and ladies. Organized first Chrysanthemum show in 1963.In early seventies HSP started kitchen garden classes, grow more vegetables, save and plant trees campaign in school, colleges, universities and at other institutes. In eighty's H S P completed designing and planning work on Horticultural Complex and Botanical Garden at Rashid Minhas road, Karachi and also established a Garden Center in collaboration with Defence Housing Authority where all research work, classes, meetings, workshops and seminars were held.
In 1990 to update members and others, H S P start publishing a monthly newsletter, covering all aspects on gardening and horticulture nationally and internationally.
The out come of these lively and nature oriented activities, resulted in the formation of the Horticulture Society of Pakistan Lahore in 1962,Ladies Horticultural Club in 1963, Floral Art Society in 1970 and followed by Pakistan National Rose Society Islamabad, Karachi Chapter of Ikebana International, Amateurs Gardeners Club, Ikenobo Study Group, Orchid Society of Pakistan, Bonsai Society of Pakistan and Cactus & Succulent Society of Pakistan.
Not only the creation of these societies is a credit to the H.S.P these ramifications proliferated in development of some beautiful gardens and introduction of various plant verities in the country.
Thousands of nurseries are doing good business, hundreds of florist shops, garden stores and trained ladies and gentlemen in all over the country maintaining decently. The hundreds of trained gardeners working in gulf raising the countries foreign reserves. Some of our members are planning to export flowers to help the exchequer through horticulture.
KARACHI: Senior horticulturalist and founder of the Horticultural Society of Pakistan (HSP), Abdul Karim Khan, aged 96, passed away on Sunday afternoon.
Popularly known as ‘Baba-e-Baghbani’, Khan has several honours to his credit in the field of landscape designing. He designed and developed numerous parks and Japanese gardens across the city, such as the Zoological Gardens and Frere Hall Garden among others.
Khan’s career extended over 70 years. His efforts were geared towards generating horticulture interest and knowledge among the public.
He introduced the annual chrysanthemum flower show in Karachi and encouraged various competitions and societies for the promotion of Japanese horticulture.
He was also an educationist in landscape designing and horticulture practices.
He designed several short courses for both amateurs and professional learners. All segments of society have been known to benefit from these, with their numbers extending to thousands. He also encouraged participation of women in the field, for which he founded the Ladies Horticultural Club in 1964.
Khan has authored several books such as ‘The Gardener’. The book is one of its kind. It deals with soil and climate considering the environmental conditions of Pakistan.
In recognition of his services, he was awarded the Presidents Award for Pride of Performance in 1990. Additionally, in 2009, he became the first horticulturalist to receive the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
He is survived by two sons and three daughters.