Samina Baig
Samina Baig

Samina Baig and Naila Kiani broke the cloud cover and the rocky ceiling to scale new heights and summit the world’s second highest peak, K2.

Maybe they can’t hear the cheering and applause right now because they are so high up in the mountains, but Samina Baig and Naila Kiani’s great feat of becoming the first two Pakistani women to summit K2 last week is also being celebrated by other Pakistani sportswomen. Here they are, sending their congratulatory messages to the two.

Noorena Shams
(squash player):

“It was incredible to see Samina and Naila summiting K2,” says squash player Noorena Shams. “A perfect act of resilience, strength, determination and ambition. They are simply paving the way for other girls across the nation to follow.”

The young squash player who hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also shares that, in her village, most of the women climb hills to get wood, etc. “My mother, my khala [maternal aunt] also used to climb hills in their childhood. It used to be an adventure to climb the hills every time we used to visit our native village.

“But of course I have always dreamed of free mobility for women. They do not have to climb hills only to get timber. That is a struggle in my area. We can’t have hikes without purpose,” she concludes.

Sportswomen of Pakistan rejoice over the recent achievement of mountain climbers Samina Baig and Naila Kiani, who became the first women of their country to summit K2

Tushna Patel
(off-road race driver):

Pakistan’s first female rally driver Tushna Patel says she is proud to have talent such as Baig’s and Kiani’s in Pakistan. “And the government should support this talent so that more and more sports people can bring pride to us on an international level,” she says.

“Samina and Naila have played a great role in promoting mountain climbing along with the image of Pakistan globally. Talent like theirs needs to be tapped into at a younger age, where it can be trained to achieve great honours worldwide,” she adds.

“I myself being the first Pakistani off-road female racer feel that there is a lack of government support and there is more hidden talent to be discovered in this country. I was lucky to have a supportive husband to help me achieve what I have in a truly male-dominated sport, but I am also proud that because of me, a lot of other women are now participating in rally driving. I salute these women for their achievement and wish them more and more success for their future endeavours. Pakistan Zindabad!”

Bismah Maroof
(cricketer):

The captain of the Pakistan women’s cricket team, playing in Ireland at the moment, also sent her congratulations to Samina and Naila via a voice message sent to Eos. “Many congratulations to Samina Baig and Naila Kiani on becoming the first two Pakistani women to summit K2. It is a huge achievement and more power to you both,” she said.

Fatima Hussain
(javelin thrower):

National javelin champion Fatima Hussain says she was recently hiking in Muzaffarabad when she got the news about Samina and Naila. “I was so happy to learn of their achievement. And being a woman and a Pakistani, my happiness doubled and tripled. I pray that they make the country proud even more in the future, too,” she says.

“Quite frankly, I find hiking in the hills so difficult and challenging that I have all the more respect for anyone who goes beyond that and climbs mountains. Samina and Naila are very brave to have chosen this adventure,” she adds.

Nisha Sultan
(netball captain):

The captain of Pakistan’s women netball team Nisha Sultan also felt overjoyed by the achievement of the two mountain climbers. “I’m so happy for them and for my country,” she says. “Like me, Samina Baig also hails from Gilgit-Baltistan. And having an adventurous spirit myself, I can also see myself learning mountain climbing from her one day.”

For Naila, she said that Naila’s playing several sports and being a multitasker like her makes her identify with her also. “Naila is also a boxer, I hear. I also enjoy other sports such as throwball besides netball. Maybe if we meet, I can also teach both our mountain climbers netball and throwball,” she says.

Anita Karim
(Mixed martial artist)

Pakistan’s mixed martial artist Anita Karim, who also hails from Gilgit-Baltistan like one of the two mountain climbers, says that she is in Thailand at the moment but she congratulated both Samina and Naila on Instagram the moment she heard about their great climb. “I congratulate and applaud both the women on the milestone and full respect to Samina Baig for paving a path for young females to push towards their vision and work hard to achieve it,” she says.

Mehwish Khan
(footballer)

The first international goal scorer for Pakistan in women’s football, Mehwish Khan says that she is in awe of all mountain climbers because she herself has high anxiety. “I am afraid of heights so I am amazed to hear of people summiting some of the highest peaks of the world. And Samina and Naila are the best among them, because they are also women,” she laughs.

“I would like to congratulate them both. They are a true inspiration for all women and not just in Pakistan, but around the world. They have proved how strong women can be. May God Almighty bless them with more success,” she says.

Published in Dawn, EOS, July 31st, 2022

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