Eight professionals receive Mountains Pride Award

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Speakers urge govt to recognize and encourage ‘people of the mountains’

Zubair Qureshi

Eight dedicated professionals who highlighted the huge potential of mountains for conservation of climate and served the mountain communities putting their best efforts into conservation and development of mountain ecosystems all their lives have been awarded with 2nd Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards

Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) had organized the awards ceremony as the last event of 11th Pakistan Mountain Festival (PMF), globally known as the world’s largest festival of mountains and its communities.

The guests of honour included Rural Support Programme Network chairman Shoaib Sultan Khan who is the guru of rural community development regime in Pakistan. Well-known biodiversity experts, mountain communities and students from universities and colleges participated in the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director and founder PAMPA Munir Ahmed said, “Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards were launched in 2019 to recognize the services par excellence of the individuals who have rendered their services to mountain conservation and uplift the communities over the decades.”

Zahid Baig Mirza (National) and Khwaja Lashkar Hussain Azad from AJK (Regional) were the winners for mountain ecosystems conservation. Shoaib Sultan Khan Community Development Award encourages grassroots development. Bibi Hussan (Gulmit) and Hasina Haider (Shiger) won this year for their services to mountain women development and empowerment.

Nazir Sabir Mountaineering Award promotes and mainstream adventure tourism and hardcore mountaineering in Pakistan’s high mountains.

Pakistan young mountaineer Sirbaz Khan was chosen by the committee headed by Nazir Sabir. Sirbaz has scaled eight highest peaks of thirteen. Muhammad Iqbal, having 45 years of services to mountaineering and adventure trekking in Pakistan, won the Ashraf Aman Sustainable Mountain Tourism Award. The winners of the Ustad Jan Ali Mountain Music Award will be announced soon.”

Ashiq Ahmed Khan, Senior Scientific Advisor, Italian INGO EvK2CNR, said we are fast losing ecosystems of our mountains. A comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan is needed if we want to save our communities and their livelihood.

Well-respected biodiversity expert ZB Mirza highlighted the loss of surface and subsurface ecosystems that would impact water availability for human consumption and agriculture. He said it would create food insecurity.Kulsoon Farman, Gilgit-Baltistan’s Parliamentary Secretary Health, said it was essential to attract others to follow the footprints of the living legends and the dedicated practitioners.

 

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