GILGIT: The Pak Army will start a search operation for the missing mountaineers at Nanga Parbat on Thursday (Today).
Two foreign mountaineers, Daniel Nardi from Italy, and Tom Ballard from UK, who were attempting to summit Nanga Parbat through a new route, the Mummery Spur, went missing from the camp-4 on Feb 24 from, and are feared dead.
Nardi and Ballard along with two Pakistani mountaineers, Rehmatullah Baig and Karim Hayat, had started climbing Nanga Parbat in early January.
On Jan 29, the Pakistani climbers quit the expedition after snow avalanches buried the tents of their team at camp-2.
Two Italian and UK climbers went missing on Feb 24
However, the two foreign climbers continued their adventure to summit Nanga Parbat.
According to an official source, Daniel Nardi and Tom Ballard went missing after having reached at camp-4 situated at 6,300 meters.
Mr Baig, who initially accompanied the missing mountaineers, told Dawn on Wednesday that he talked to people at the base camp on Wednesday, and they said that there was no contact with Nardi and Balard since Feb 24.
On Feb 24, at 7pm Nardi and Ballard contacted with their cook at the base camp, informing him that they had reached the camp-4 and would again talk in the morning since they were out of communication, Mr Baig told this correspondent.
He said it was unlikely that the two climbers would survive.
Karim Shah Nizari, a friend of Nardi, told Dawn that last time he contacted with wife of Nardi was on Feb 24, and she told him that Nardi had arrived at camp-4, but contact was lost afterwards.
He said the staff of the tour organisation at the base camp had also lost communication with the climbers.
Mr Nizari said only a rapid rescue operation was possible through helicopter of Askari Aviation.
This was Nardi’s fifth attempt to scale Nanga Parbat through Mummery Spur while Ballard was first attempting to scale the peak first time.
According to the source, Army Aviation rescue operation would start on Thursday morning assisted by famous mountaineer Ali Sadpara who first climbed Nanga Parbat in the winter of 2017, and the Russian climbers stationed at the K2 base camp.
Earlier, the rescue operation was planned for Wednesday, but it had to be suspended due to bad weather.
RALLIES: Rallies were held across Gilgit-Baltistan on Wednesday condemning the hostile attitude of India and to show solidarity with the Pakistan Army.
Speakers announced that GB people were ready to sacrifice their lives for the country’s defence.
Demonstrations were held in Gilgit, Diamer and Skardu.
The protesters were holding placards inscribed with slogans condemning belligerent attitude of the Indian government.
The main demonstration was held at Etihad Chowk in Gilgit, attended by traders, students, activists of political and religious parties.
The speakers said the whole nation was united to foil the nefarious designs of India. They said the international community should take notice of human rights violations in India-held Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2019