ISLAMABAD: The first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest says she wants her achievement to stand as an inspiration to all the women of her troubled country that they can achieve their dreams.

Samina Baig last month became the first woman from Pakistan to reach the 8,848 metre (29,029 foot) summit of the world's tallest mountain, after a gruelling expedition in rough weather.

As she unfurled the green and white Pakistani flag on the peak, tears of joy and pride rolled down her cheeks, she told AFP in an interview at her Islamabad home.

The 22-year-old said that as she stood with the world at her feet, her mind turned to the millions of women back home denied opportunities because of their gender in Pakistan's conservative, patriarchal society.

“I was thinking about the women of Pakistan, those who are not allowed to get education, those who are not allowed to do whatever they want to do in their life,” she said. “I hope that the families will understand that the contribution of women is important and can be more powerful for building a greater country.”

Human rights groups say Pakistani women suffer severe discrimination, domestic violence and so-called “honour” killings – when a victim is murdered for allegedly bringing dishonour upon her family.

Baig, from the small town of Shimshal in the Hunza valley in Pakistan's mountainous north said she hoped to empower the women of Pakistan through her achievements. “Mountain climbing is my passion and to empower women through my expeditions is the reason. I am doing the mountain climbing to empower women,”she said. “The reason behind this expedition was to convey a message that if Samina can climb a mountain other girls can do anything they want in their life.”

The Everest climb was not Baig's first significant achievement – after taking up climbing just three years ago she became the first person to reach the summit of the 6,400-metre Chashkin Sar peak in northern Pakistan in 2010.

“Chashkin Sar was virgin and we climbed it for the first time and afterwards the people renamed it as Samina Baig,” she said.

Training for the Everest expedition, which she accomplished with her brother Mirza Ali with financial help from New Zealand, began 12 months ago in the frozen wastes of her home district.

“It took us one year. Me and my brother were planning for the last one year. We went for training in winter on glaciers. We went to Shimshal Pass in the winter to prepare, stamina building and technical training,” she said.

Northern Pakistan is home to some of the world's most impressive mountains and glaciers and challenging climbs, and Baig urged the government to relax the rigid visa regime which she said was holding it back as a destination for mountaineers.

“The problem is the visa issue. People want to come to Pakistan but are not given visas. We wish for visas to be given to those people who want to come to Pakistan,” she said.

With Everest in the bag, Baig's next target is to summit the highest peaks in each of the world's seven continents – all while studying for a degree in tourism management.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (30)

Akhlesh
June 6, 2013 3:03 pm

Samina, Congratulations. That's the way to go. Your feat will inspire not only the women of Pakistan but its men too.

Faiza
June 6, 2013 3:20 pm

We women are all proud of you . WELL DONE !

Farooq Ali
June 6, 2013 3:55 pm

Congratulations on flying our flag on roof of the world , you are great and so the Pakistani women.

sherafgan
June 6, 2013 3:59 pm

I love those Pakistani women who stand for themselves and achieve something in life to be a source of inspiration for others. Samina you are our heroine. God bless u. Only you could have done this and I hope the rest will follow. I am so proud of you rather the whole nation is (men included).

saleem
June 6, 2013 4:26 pm

Proud of you Samina! May you succeed in all your future expeditions.

naghman qureshi
June 6, 2013 4:44 pm

congratulations.let this be an inspiration for all the women in pakistan.

Agha Ata
June 6, 2013 5:41 pm

And, mullah says women are inferior. But he maybe right. Next time a woman goes to the peek he should invite his other friends and go with her to see if she really climbs the mountain. They will also set an example of first mullahs to climb the Mount Everest. :)

ashok
June 6, 2013 6:11 pm

Very small hearted to block a congratulatory message from a neighbouring country. Kindly remove me from your mailing list.

jehanzaib
June 6, 2013 6:16 pm

“It is not mountains we conquer, but ourselves” Sir Edmund Hillary ... congrats Missy you have made the country proud

from dubai
June 6, 2013 7:38 pm

Very unfortunate that her achievement has not attracted much publicity. DAWN has done great work to give it some space. Not much comments from readers either. Interestingly there are very few male Pakistanis who have conquered Everest. In that context it is even a greater achievement for a 22 year old Hunzain.

zahid
June 6, 2013 11:51 pm

@Anice step

Mohammad Akbar Hussain
June 7, 2013 4:41 am

Great job I agree with you, that its a country will all the bounties of the world. But we are not utilizing it because of all the black sheep who are decision maker for that country.

Aiza
June 7, 2013 6:12 am

Wow what an achievment!!! We are so proude of you! You are a great inspiration indeed!!!

Saeed
June 7, 2013 8:31 am

Congrulation great job .not only inspiration for woman but Pakistani male also

tufail ahmad
June 7, 2013 9:39 am

obviously, a courageous female climber from GB, pak.

Hussain
June 7, 2013 12:12 pm

hats off brave woman, may God bless you.

"Training for the Everest expedition, which she accomplished with her brother Mirza Ali with financial help from New Zealand, began 12 months ago in the frozen wastes of her home district."

these lines literally shocked me. why not help from PAKISTAN?????

C Roy
June 7, 2013 12:53 pm

Well done Samina!.. hope to see more women replicating your feat.

A Kashmiri
June 7, 2013 2:09 pm

WELL DONE.

RK
June 7, 2013 2:27 pm

Well done samina, proud of you.

Naveed
June 7, 2013 7:58 pm

Samina way to go. You are a proud Pakistani. We love your achievement. Go and help Pakistan Woman empower themselves. May you always be successful. I had tears of joy when I saw your picture unfurling White and Green Flag.

Iqbal khan
June 8, 2013 12:50 pm

Just wondering why no fatwa so far that it was against sharia.

Joy
June 8, 2013 2:25 pm

Bravo! An Everest summit is any day a great achievement. And doing this against the cultural , and environmental context must have been truely courageous. Definitely very Inspiring. Wish you many more peaks, lady!

Ammar
June 8, 2013 4:19 pm

This is a huge achievement for anyone but especially for a girl from Pakistan, this is a symbol of strength for all other women in this country. Majority of our women have been brought up with the mentality that they are weaker, vulnerable and insignificant. This sense of inferiority is not just restricted to women in rural areas or small towns. Deep down inside, many seemingly modern women feel the same way.

Bravo Samina...I wish you further success and pray for you safety.

Reshma
June 8, 2013 6:57 pm

Great achievement samina and more than that i liked your message to the Pakistani nation to support their women in whatever they want to excel...:)BRAVO

Tahir Chaudhry
June 8, 2013 9:43 pm

Congratulations;

We are all proud of you.

Aijaz Malik
June 9, 2013 5:09 am

Samina Baig, congrats on achieving your goal and fulfilling your dream. It is wonderful to see a beautiful young aspiring lady has conquered the summit of Mount Everest. i am so happy that the Mount Chashkin Sar has been named after you. Samina's mind was at the right when she thought of all beautiful Pakistani girls to march forward to dram big and achieve their goals. It is pity that Pakistani mullahs Do Not Understand true Islam. What Allah says in Qur'an about holy Torah and the Bible that people have changed Allah's word in these holy books. This is exactly what Pakistani mullahs and the mullahs of the umma are doing to Islamic teachings & values. These mullahs are blinded by ignorance. Islam is a complete book for the living people and mullahs are following & teaching Isslam of the dead people. Congrats once again Samina.

EQ8Rhomes
June 9, 2013 5:24 am

Does this brave Pakistani's "conquest" mean that Mt Everest will be declared an Islamic republic?

SherePunjab Singh SherGill
June 9, 2013 5:30 am

Congratulations. You bring pride and honour to your family, yourself and above all your country. It is a great achievement for a girl to scale Mt. Everest. Though many others from west and India has done so before but being from Pakistan makes us more happy. I have also read in paper that 6 Indian school students few aged 16 yrs, have scaled it this year on May 22nd. It is also a great deed of young kids. You all deserve it. SherGill (USA)

h
June 9, 2013 6:23 am

Congrats young woman.

  • From a Hindu Indian

Your feat is also an inspiration for all South Asian women - including Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis

Tongue-in-chick
June 9, 2013 6:35 am

One small step for a woman, one giant leap for womankind in Pakistan? One can only hope...

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