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Scaling the heights of success

June 08, 2015

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Samina Baig and Mirza Ali Baig pose with the Pakistani flag at Mount Everest. - Photo File
Samina Baig and Mirza Ali Baig pose with the Pakistani flag at Mount Everest. - Photo File

Through her TV show, Reham Khan continues to bring to light personalities that have contributed in uplifting Pakistan’s image and have become a source of inspiration for the audience.

The guests in her latest show on DawnNews were the mountaineering duo – Samina Baig and her brother Mirza Ali Baig.

Samina achieved what no other women in Pakistan had achieved before – ascending Mount Everest and waving the Pakistani flag from the summit. She ascended the summit at the age of 21.

The Reham Khan show June 07, 2015

"We need to make an effort to change the image of Pakistani women, people do not understand us as a people," Samina stated.

Her mountaineering journey started at the age of 19, when she ascended Chashkin Sar (above 6,000 metres high) in Pakistan, the peak was later renamed in her honour to Samina Peak.

Samina and her brother come from humble surroundings, the picturesque village of Shimshal in Hunza Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. From a family of mountaineers, Samina had always looked towards the mountains and accepted the challenge they presented.

Ascending Mount Everest was no easy feat, but more difficult for the mountaineering duo was to arrange the necessary finances and equipment. Luckily, with help of sponsorship and foreign donors, their dream was realised.

"I spent seven years trying to gather the necessary finances for the Everest expedition. Donors from New Zealand financed our expedition after they realised what our message was – gender equality and women empowerment," said Mirza Ali Baig.

Samina and Mirza were determined to make a statement, and they achieved it in splendid fashion. Mirza stopped 248 meters from the summit of Everest, and asked Samina to continue on her own to the summit. She reached the summit, hoisted the green crescent and star on top of the world beaming with pride – she let the world know that women are just as capable as men.

"Our mission was to raise the Pakistani flag on all Seven Summits, including Everest. It is an honour for us to be the first Pakistanis and siblings to ascend all Seven Summits," said Samina while recalling her great journey to the highest peaks of the world.

Mirza Baig added that he faced biased attitudes from airport and immigration authorities across the world when they embarked on their trips to ascend the Seven Summits. He was stopped for hours and had to miss flights - for the 'I love Pakistan' T-shirt he wears with pride.

“We only need our flag to feel pride, and I took it everywhere with me. My sister and I come from a very simple and humble background. One should always be passionate and have the will to achieve what others think is impossible.”

"Once I reached Everest summit, I was overcome with emotions on the feat I had achieved. I was determined to carry forth and climb the other six peaks," said Samina.

The duo plans to summit world's second highest peak – K2. The ascent is planned for June this year.

"We need not look beyond our borders for inspiration and heroes – and Reham Khan's show perfectly highlights it."