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(English) Exclusive Pakistani mountaineering expedition sets out to attempt K2 summit

Pakistan and italian flags. On the right the-alpinists Cucchi Origone Taqi
Pakistan and italian flags. On the right the alpinists Cucchi Origone Taqi

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid and Counsellor Tommaso Sansone, Deputy Head of the Italian Mission in Pakistan, handed over Pakistani and Italian flags to the Pakistani mountaineers at a media briefing arranged here Monday at the National Press Club.

The ceremony was arranged to send off Pakistan’s first ever mountaineering, scientific and environmental research expedition to K2. Eight mountaineers from Gilgit-Baltistan with the support of Gilgit-Baltistan and EvK2CNR will attempt K2 Summit. Italian non-governmental organisation Ev-K2-CNR has supported this very Pakistani expedition with some equipment, training, and technical assistance during the expedition. Two Italian mountaineers would be available to the Pakistan expedition for technical support and assistance in the hour of need and to attempt the summit with them.

Speaking on the occasion, Senator Pervaiz Rashid said “Fortunately we are blessed with the best mountainous ranges and we are thankful to our foreign friends who not only love our mountains but put their efforts to mainstream and popularise it in their countries. Our special thanks to Italians who have special love for K2 for the last 100 year. It is a resource intensive expedition, but we are highly grateful to Italian friends who took initiative and have supported very generously eight mountaineers from the most neglected part of Pakistan which is Gilgit-Baltistan.

President Ev-K2-CNR Agostino Da Polenza said K2 is the best brand that can uplift Pakistan’s image and the people are very hard working; they only lack resources that we the Italians are trying to provide the locals to help them to do the best for land and available resources. We are also inculcating awareness on the conservation of the local natural resources.

Counsellor Tommaso Sansone, Deputy Head of the Italian Mission in Pakistan, said Italian’s love for K2 began 1909, since then our people are associated with Karakoram area for its conservation and mainstreaming. We are happy to be associated with the K2 and the Karakoram.

Domenico Brozzone, the head of development, talked about the SEED project, a major intervention in the Gilgit-Baltistan for climate research and mountaineering, and mountain development. He said the project interventions have changed life in the area and with the development of the Central Karakoram National Park, adventure tourism and biodiversity conservation would be the ace achievements.

He also informed about the K2 first ascent by the Italian expedition on July 31, 1954, when Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli reached for the first time ever the K2 summit, the most difficult mountain in the world. The success of that historical challenge was possible thanks to the support of the expedition’ Pakistani members, first among everyone Amir Mahdi, but also thanked to the Hunza porters that were along with Deosai team. Today the history is repeating but for the first time ever in fact an officially Pakistani team will attempt K2 summit. With the them two Italian mountaineering ambassadors: Michele Cucchi, alpine guide and Simone Origone world champion speed skiing (251,40 km/h).The expedition will leave form Skardu on June 14, where the Italians will join the Pakistani team. The summit attempt is foreseen at the end of July.

Team leader of the expedition, Muhammad Taqi thanks Italians for their support and said that mountaineering should a priority of governments in order to promote tourism and the beauty of north lands. We are happy and looking forward to scale the K2 as mountaineers not as porters.

Among others who spoke on the occasion, included Italian mountaineer and adviser to Pakistan expedition Maurizio Gallo, National Press Club President Shahryar Khan, Ghulam Rasul from the Gilgit-Baltistan Tourism department.

Munir Ahmed

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