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January 30, 2011

Samina wants to be a role model for youth


January 30, 2011

Samina Baig’s remarkable achievements have been highlighted in a section of press when she shared the rock-climbing experience with the Danish envoy recently.
The Alpine Club of Pakistan has announced to give honorary membership and certificate to Samina Baig on her outstanding achievement. Being a female and that too a mountaineer needed to be fully explored as to what her experiences were in these expeditions and what lies in the future for her.
Samina Baig shares her views exclusively with ‘The News’ as to what her aspirations are as a mountaineer herself and for the youth of Pakistan.
Samina, a 19-year-old girl, wants to do Masters in Tourism Management. Currently she’s doing her matriculation and wants to be a role model for young people. “It’s what every girl from Shamshal is born with, we have immense love for the mountains since childhood as our village is surrounded by beautiful mountains,” she said. “Rajab Shah who has been named as ‘Crown of Karakoram’ who has climbed all the highest five peaks of Pakistan is the Pride of Pakistan is also from Shamshal. Even my uncle Yousuf Khan ex-army man received Tamgha-e-Basalat for his climbing expertise,” she said.
“I had no resistance whatsoever from my parents or siblings against these expeditions rather I had the full support of my family. I thanked the Danish government for supporting us in the Winter Expedition,” she said.
Samina’s brother Mirza Ali Founding President of Pakistan Youth Outreach which deals with ‘youth mountaineering education, awareness and woman adventure promotion programme’, of which Samina is also a part of it, presented proposals to various ministries for the last three years but no one paid attention to the proposals saying that women and mountaineering are poles apart. But when a woman decides to do something, nothing can come in her way.
Samina said that now after these expeditions we want to involve schools and colleges

in creating awareness of our beautiful mountains and the unexplored beauty of Pakistan through lectures and multimedia documentaries. We have a plan to start awareness exclusively to female students so that they can also take interest in mountaineering.
If I can do it then every female of Pakistan can do it. Right now there are at least 730 peaks in Pakistan that are above 6,000 meters whereas there are uncountable peaks above 5,000 meters. We need to tell our youth that there are several virgin peaks in Pakistan that are unclimbed. Our country is blessed with glaciers, rivers, mountains and lakes etc. only one needs to promote them. After every 100 kilometres the culture changes in this country.
Tourism in our country can blossom in manifolds and for this the Ministry of Tourism needs to take concrete steps to welcome tourists into the country. What we need right now is full support from the government because mountaineering equipment is very expensive and everybody cant afford it. The equipment changes and its prices also vary after 6,000 and 7,000 meters.
After every 1,000 meters one has to use different shoes that are long and cost around 1,000 dollars for each pair. In 2010 she has climbed a virgin peak Chashksin Sar of 6,400 metre that has been renamed as Samina Peak in her honour. A documentary under ‘geomentary’ has recently been telecasted about her latest experience of this expedition. Explaining her future endeavours, Samina said that on February 4 we are going to Malka Parbat Expedition and we need sponsors for that.
Later this year we have planned to go to Mashabrum and Spantik. While explaining the lifestyle of her village Shamshal (last village on the border of Pakistan) which is located in Upper Hunza, she said that people speak Wakhi language there which is derived from Persian language and spoken in four countries — Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of China. In Shamshal which is at 3300 metre, all the people in the village are very adventurous in nature and take their livestock in green pastures at 4700m at Shamshal Pass and live their for five months. The temperature drops to minus 16 or 18 in winters. Since there is hydropower that is generated locally in the village, the water freezes and the power supply for electricity stops for at least six months. We then use firewood or yak dung for cooking and heating purposes. There are many co-education public schools and one private high school in our village and there is a strong tradition of sending all children to school. But we don’t have a college there.
The people have done much advancement in improving their conditions of life while keeping within their limited sources. Our women make cheese, butter, and wool, carpets made out of yak hair and threads that are manually processed for weaving. Volunteerism and adaptability are the best features among our people. Our village is now accessible through jeep only and the road was built in 2003, as it remained underdeveloped for ages.

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