Karachi, May 07: Nazir Sabir, the first Pakistani to set foot on the Mount Everest, shared stories of his mountaineering adventures in a fully packed auditorium at the Aga Khan University, here in Karachi. He had been invited by the university as part of its special lecture program series, being held to commemorate 25 years of AKU. Sabir belongs to Gilgit – Baltistan, a native of Hunza valley. Nazir Sabir is also the first civilian president of the Alpine Club of Pakistan.
Sabir, in a very light manner, told the audience about his brushes with death at different mountains. He also said that at two occasions, once at K2 and then at the Mount Everest, he was so mesmerized by ‘the drama of nature’ that he felt enlightenment; awareness of the magnitude and purpose of his being.
Sabir shared breathtaking photographs from many of his adventures, including successful ones and the not-so-successful ones. He specifically mentioned failure of his first attempt on the Everest, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Pakistan. He said that this failure made the Everest not only a personal but also a national challenge for him. About the cause of failure he said that ‘ferocious Tibetan winds’ made all their climbing efforts futile. He also talked about his companions, fallen and alive, including Reinhold Messner, Scott Fischer, several Japanese climbers, including Eiho Otani, his K2 summit partner, and his Pakistani comrads, including Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani to climb K2, Brig (r) Sher Khan, Rajab Shah and Meherban, all four hailing from the Gojal – Hunza valley.
Sabir finally talked about his successful attempt on Mount Everest, where he was able to ‘place the Hilali parcham’ on top of the world. The auditorium resounded with applauses as Sabir showed a slide in which he stood on top of the world, with a Pakistani falg in his hands.
Later, responding to questions, Sabir said that despite of the immense natural conditions available in Pakistan for developing skills of the mountaineers, no serious efforts were being made by the authorities. He lamented the ‘absence of 46 percent of Pakistan’s population (the females) in the mountains’. He said that in 2007 he made an effort to send a group of females to the mountains for training purpose but because of the political turmoil at that time the efforts couldn’t materialize.
He also told the audience that a group of aspiring young mountaineers are being trained at the Passu glacier region.