Islamabad (AFP) – The first Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest is to embark on an expedition to summit seven major peaks around the world, to advocate female empowerment and action on climate change.
Samina Baig in June became the first Pakistani woman to reach the 8,848 metre (29,029 foot) summit of the world\’s tallest mountain, after a gruelling expedition in rough weather.
Now she and her brother Mirza Ali Baig will set off on Saturday to tackle Mount Vinson, the highest in Antarctica, Argentina\’s Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Americas and others in Russia, Indonesia and Nepal.
The Adventure Diplomacy Group (ADG) consisting of the embassies of Argentina, Indonesia, Nepal, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America is supporting the duo in their voyage.
Hailing from Hunza valley in Pakistan\’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, Samina, 21, said mountaineering was not only a sport for her, but a means to inspire women.
Nestled among some of the highest mountains of the world, Hunza is inhabited by moderate Shia Ismaili Muslims, followers of the Aga Khan.
“When I came to the city for the first time, I saw a completely different world, where people are less educated, poverty is widespread and (the) female is a non-existent species compared to their male counterparts” Samina said.
“But in my community, women are as important as males and they are playing an equal role in the society.”
With a network of schools and hospitals established by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Ismailis of Hunza have evolved into one of the developed communities in Pakistan where education as the young Samina says “is a religious obligation”.