Famous mountaineer Hassan Sadpara has resigned from his honorary post in the police department to protest against an explanation letter issued to him for speaking to the media about his manhandling by security officials.
Addressing a press conference called on Thursday evening in Skardu, Sadpara claimed to have been manhandled at Skardu airport when he tried to meet President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Gayari sector.
“I felt insulted. I was asked to explain within three days why I talked to the media about the manhandling incident,” Sadpara told The Express Tribune by telephone on Friday.
“I resigned within three hours after receiving the explanation letter.” Superintendent police Skardu had issued the letter.
The post was offered to him in recognition for climbing Mount Everest last year.
Security officials at the airport did not allow Sadpara to approach the president. When he tried to force his way, he was manhandled.
President Zardari and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Wednesday, visited Gayari sector, where a rescue operation is underway to search for 138 soldiers and civilians trapped under an avalanche since last week.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sadpara said he could not understand why he was barred from meeting the president. “I’m a national hero, not a thief and the president was in my hometown.
The mountaineer said he had resigned from the post of a grade-five police instructor. “The job was not at par with my stature and dignity.”
According to Sadpara, the president had made a commitment to open a mountaineering school in Skardu in a meeting with him last year in Islamabad.
“I wanted to thank the president for his support and remind him of his promise,” he added.
Officials in Skardu could not be reached for comments on Sadpara’s decision.
The 49-year-old Pakistani climber belongs to Sadpara village, about seven kilometres from Skardu. He became the second Pakistani to ascend Mount Everest in May 2011.
Earlier in 2000, Nazir Sabir attained the honour of becoming the first Pakistani to climb the world’s tallest mountain.
Father of four children, Sadpara is the only person from Gilgit-Baltistan to have conquered all the five major peaks in Pakistan, including K2 in 1981, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak in 1982 and Gasherbrum I also known as the Hidden Peak, which is 8068 metres high, in 1992.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.