Mountain Festival concludes with pledge by participants to conserve nature

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Zubair Qureshi

As many as 16 individuals were awarded 3rd Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards on Monday at the grand finale of the 12th Pakistan Mountain Festival, a flagship event by Devcom-Pakistan.

The 12-day long advocacy festival was organized in collaboration with NRSP, PPAF, PNCA, National Heritage and Culture Division, Fatima Jinnah University, Rawalpindi Women University, SZABIST Islamabad Campus, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Comsats University CS Adventure Club, and GBC Council to commemorate International Mountain Day that falls on December 11. The guests of honour included Country Head of Italian Cooperation Development in Pakistan Emanuela Benini, chairman Rural Support Programmes Network Shoaib Sultan Khan, Pakistan’s renowned mountaineer Nazir Sabir, EvK2CNR Senior Scientific Advisor Ashiq Ahmed Khan, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) Group Head Institutional Development, Innovation and Integration Irshad Khan Abbasi, Pakistan’s globally celebrated mountaineer Sarbaz Khan, Director General PNCA Ayub Jamali.

Sifat Gul, Garamchashma (Chital), Sakina Bi Ibrahim from Shigar (Baltistan), Gul Begam from Ghizer, Nusrat Yousuf from Rawalakot, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) won the Shoaib Sultan Khan Mountain Community Development Awards. Marium Majeed Dar belongs to Forward Kahuta (AJK) and Rashida Khanam from Chitral was given the Agostino Da Polenza Mountain Conservation Award. Pakistan celebrated women mountaineers Sameena Baig and Naila Kiani got Nazir Sabir Mountaineering Award. Ustad Mir Afzal, sitar player, was conferred upon the Ustad Jan Ali Mountain Music Award. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund launched ‘PPAF SMEs Award’ under the banner of Pakistan Mountain Awards. This year’s award winners included Nazia Hussain (Chitral), Nasreen Moosa (Skardu), Karim Salman (Hunza), and Samiullah (Swat).

Gilgit-Baltistan Music Group and maestro sitar player from Swat Mir Afzal created a fusion of mountain music, performing together. PNCA National Performing Arts Group (NPAG) presented Kalash dance and Sndhi jhoomar. A young vocalist from Rawalpindi Women University Laiba Khan sang Paharo ki qasm challay aao. A seasoned filmmaker Khalid Mahmood showed his documentary about the Pakistani climbers who summited K2 during 1977-2022. Talking about the objectives of the Pakistan Mountain Festival and Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards, Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed said Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards (PAMPA) 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, mountaineering, sustainable mountain tourism and for the promotion of mountain music.