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LAHORE: With the objective of raising the Pakistani flag at the thousands meters peaks, Pakistan’s top climbers Shehroze Kashif and Naila Kiani have announced their plans to scale Annapurna and Mount Everest in Nepal in the mid of April.

Naila Kiani would scale 8000 meters Mount Everest while Shehroze Kashif would scale thousands feet Annapurna. Shehroze is already in Nepal while Naila Kiani would be leaving in due course of time.

During an interaction with media here at BARD Foundation office, Shehroze (virtually being in Nepal) and Naila (in person), along with Bilquis and Abdul Razak Dawood (BARD) Foundation founder Abdul Razzaq Dawood and BARD officials, said: “The month of April and May are the best time for mountaineering and that’s why we have preferred mid-April to scale Mount Everest, one of the biggest mountains of the world. We are grateful to our sponsors BARD Foundation for their all-out support for us, and we promise, in return, we will hold aloft Pakistani flag at Mount Everest that will also present a soft and positive image of Pakistan across the globe.”

BARD Foundation founder Abdul Razzaq Dawood said: “The basic purpose of the Foundation was to help our youth in Education but in 2019, it was expanded and sports were also included. Now we are supporting young and talented sports persons who are doing well at national and international level. “We are keen to support more games, especially the ones that have bright chances of winning international laurels for Pakistan. The achievements of national baseball and volleyball teams have surprised me and I think if such passionate and dedicated teams are sponsored by the BARD Foundation, they are more than capable of winning international glory for Pakistan. The ultimate aim of BARD Foundation is to help the country in producing champion sports persons for Pakistan, who may take Pakistan sports to new heights, Dawood said.”

Expressing their gratitude to BARD Foundation for sponsoring them in making their dreams come true, Shehroze and Naila said they are grateful to the foundation for supporting us in the tough times and it was just because of their all-out support that gave us more courage and motivation to continue to pursue our targets and earn more distinctions and feats for our beloved country.

They said they are determined to do something big for Pakistan that may help portray its softer image to the world.

Shehroze Kashif (20) is the youngest mountaineer in the world to summit 10 peaks of over 8,000m. He has scaled all five eight-thousanders in Pakistan. He surpassed Britain’s Adriana Brownlee’s record of being the youngest climber to achieve the feat just 12 days after her achieving it. Shehroze first started climbing at the age of 11, summiting the Makra Peak (3,885m). Moving on from there, he aced Musa ka Massalah (4,080m), aged 12, followed by the Chembra Peak (4,600m). This was followed by Minglik Sar Shimshal (6,050m) at age 13, the K2 Gondogoro La K2 Base Camp (5,585m) at age 14 and Khurdopin Pass (5,890m) at age 15. At the age of 17, he climbed Broad peak (8,047m) earning the title ‘The Broad Boy’ and reached the peak of Khusar Gang-Alpine Style (6,050m) at 18 years of age. At the age of 19, he conquered Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8849m, becoming one of the youngest in the country to do so.

Responding to a question, Shehroze said: “Pakistan is a very rich country as far as tourism and mountaineering is concerned. The need of the hour is to provide the best facilities to attract more and more foreigners to come and scale Pakistan’s 5 big 8000ers mountains. This will boost Pakistan’s tourism and economy and also create ample opportunities of livelihood for the people of northern areas, he said.

Shehroze asked the government and Alpine Club of Pakistan to help and support the Pakistani mountaineers in scaling big mountains in and outside the country as it will help them present the positive image of the country to the entire world. “Through proper patronage of the government and federation, tourism and mountaineering in Pakistan will rapidly flourish and help in strengthening the economy of Pakistan,” he said.

Naila Kiani, who is also a boxer, a rock climber and a mountaineer, has summited K2 in first attempt and has also scaled Gasherbrum-I and Gasherbrum-II and now geared up to scale Mount Everest in mid-April.

She said, “I started doing research on the five 8,000 meters plus peaks and it took me two years to thoroughly study them and to make my mind up to finally start climbing them. I became the first Pakistani woman to summit an 8,000m peak in Pakistan. After climbing Mount Everest, I have planned to scale the remaining two 8,000 meters plus peaks, including Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak, for which I am geared up and waiting for the right time.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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