For brother-sister climbers,mountaineering is a metaphor for life
Karachi, Aug 29 : For Mirza Ali Baig and Samina Ali Baig, the brother-sister duo, mountaineering is a metaphor. Each and every person has a mountain of their own to climb. If one is determined and willing to excel in whatever it is that one is trying to achieve, then the mountain can be conquered. One has to keep pushing on, despite the limits and the difficulties.
This was the message the siblings wanted the audience to take away from their lecture at a packed gymnasium of the Sports and Rehabilitation Centre at the Aga Khan University.
“The first time I climbed I was wearing shoes I had bought for Rs200 from a Lunda Bazaar,” said Mirza while sharing his story with a captivated audience. “I spent six years in Karachi and spent four of them travelling on foot to and from Tariq Road to Garden to study and give tuitions.”
Back in his village, the Shimshal village of the beautiful Hunza valley, Mirza began working as a high altitude porter when he was 15. “When I used to tell people in my village that I will build a school here, they laughed at me and told me I was only a porter.”
But he did it. He wanted to excel in mountaineering and he did. Not only that, he also mentored his younger sister who got inspired listening to his stories about climbing. Samina had grown up wanting to become a climber and her brother’s stories added fuel to the fire.
“Women can do anything they want within the bounds of their culture and religion if only they are provided with the proper opportunities,” said Mirza. “If my sister can do it, then so can others.”
That was exactly what Samina wanted to prove when she embarked on the journey to scale Mount Everest last year. The brother and sister named their expedition First Pakistani Gender Equality Mt Everest Expedition, and when they got near the summit, Mirza graciously stood back to let his sister be the first Pakistani woman to conquer the top of the world.
Since the brother-sister duo began climbing together in 2010, they have conquered mountain after mountain. After the 2013 Everest expedition they began another venture: women empowerment expeditions to seven summits in seven countries in a record time of eight months.
Everywhere Mirza and Samina go, they make sure to make it clear that they are from Pakistan and are proud of their country. This is also why they started Adventure Diplomacy, a venture to bring peace and women empowerment “above borders” with climbers from other countries.
Speaking to the audience, Samina thanked her brother and mentor for his endless support for a passion they shared. But she made it clear that it was more than something they wanted to do for themselves. “We don’t climb mountains just for ourselves. We do it for Pakistan and to let the world know that women in Pakistan can do whatever they want if only they are given the right opportunities. You can get what you want while remaining within your cultural or religious beliefs.”
The News International
Also see at