Pakistan’s young climbers Naila Kiani and Shehroze Kashif have successfully climbed Annapurna I, the world’s 10th highest mountain.
The expedition was sponsored by BARD Foundation and the duo fulfilled their aim of raising the Pakistani flag at the top of the 8,000-metre peak at 6:31am (PST) on Monday in Nepal.
Naila and Shehroze shared their sentiments over the phone saying, “This has been one of the most difficult ascents of our journey, but it was a matter of honour and immense pleasure to have raised our prestigious flag on the top of Annapurna peak. Here, we would like to emphasize that our primary goal is to make our country proud while portraying a soft and positive image of Pakistan at a global level. We would also like to let the world know that this passion is not going to stop anywhere. Our mission is to promote mountain climbing and generate opportunities for more young souls like us.”
Both mountaineers also expressed their gratitude to Bard Foundation for their support and sponsorship. “We would like to thank Bard Foundation for making this climb a success. It is because of these organizations that such dreams turn into a reality,” said Naila.
Naila will be continuing her journey towards Mount Everest and Lhotse while Shehroze will be climbing Dhaulagiri, which is the seventh highest mountain in the world.
Shehroze started his expedition at the age of 11 when he first ascended Makra Peak (3,885m). At present, he is the youngest mountaineer in the world to summit 11 peaks of over 8,000m. At the age of 19, he successfully climbed Mount Everest, the world's highest peak at 8849m, becoming one of the youngest in the country to do so. In the same year, he also scaled K2 and became the youngest climber in the world. His mission is to become the youngest to climb all 14 peaks.
On the other hand, Naila climbed K2 on the first attempt and has also scaled Gasherbrum-I and Gasherbrum-II. She is now aiming to summit the Mount Everest.
The recent feat is just another feather in their cap.
The Managing Director of BARD Foundation Mehreen Dawood said, “We started this journey to promote education, sports, and social welfare. With time and our constant effort, we have demonstrated the importance of sports for the development and prosperity of youth. Now, we are sponsoring a good number of sports enthusiasts who are being lauded at national and international levels for their remarkable skills. It has been a wonderful journey supporting these gifted kids and their dream of making their homeland proud. And, we pledge to keep backing them for all future endeavours.”