AS a tribute to Pakistan’s best known mountaineer who died on K2 apparently while returning from the summit, we should rename K2, which is a a meaningless name for a mountain anyway, as Mount Sadpara. The Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly needs to listen to the public acclamation of Muhammad Ali Sadpara and pass a resolution to this effect.
AN artist in a video which went viral aptly said that in order to be famous and respected in our country, one needs to die, and Muhammad Ali Sadpara proved this by coming into the spotlight in the real sense only after losing his life at K2.
Who knew him before he succumbed to the freezing temperature on the Savage Mountain? Who was aware of his lifelong desires and struggles? Who appreciated him, let alone giving him assistance? Who took pride in him being a Pakistani? I am certain, hardly anyone.
This is not unusual in Pakistan. We praise and admire those who are first acknowledged by the West, as, for us, an accolade from the developed nations is a certificate and yardstick of one’s intelligence and capabilities.
We are averse to the very idea of providing training and assistance to those who dare to challenge the barriers, who take the risks, be their own support systems and who aspire to make their country and nation proud.
Our TV talk shows and morning shows cash in on the overnight sensations, who then fade and serve no purpose, while the hard-earned success rarely gets the limelight.
We associate ourselves with the ones who have passed away, while those who live yearn for our attention. This has to change. We need to appreciate, sponsor and recognise our hidden, unsung gems before it is too late.
MUHAMMAD Ali Sadpara is now being revered and called a national hero after the announcement that he was no more with us after almost two weeks of search on K2. Why is that so? Why do we have to wait for the death of our heroes to recognise them and their achievements? This is not the first time that Pakistan has lost such a precious person.
Ali Sadpara had to give his life to prove what he was, but the question is: will this attitude change? Will the government encourage his son and other unsung heroes? Will it introduce them to the world, or they too have to die to be declared heroes?
MUHAMMAD Ali Sadpara’s sudden disappearance and loss at K2 has left me blank. It has forced me to ask myself many questions in the last few days. Why didn’t we know more about his achievements and greatness? Why did he have to disappear to gain such love? Why did he have to lose his life to get respect and recognition he always deserved?
Why didn’t we know he was living his dream, planting the flag of the country at the highest places in the world without much financial, moral and practical support? Why does not the government give these unsung heroes the credit they deserve? When was the last time we offered financial, moral or emotional support to a struggling athlete?
If there is one thing we can learn from losing Ali Sadpara it is that we should not wait to celebrate our national heroes after their death. They are our heroes and legends. We should appreciate them and recognise their feats, giving them love while they are still alive.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021