The search for three missing mountaineers – including Pakistan’s iconic climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara – was officially called off on Thursday with families saying the trio should now be considered dead on the world’s second-highest peak.
The announcement by Sajid Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara, draws the curtain on a dramatic tragedy on K2 that kept Pakistan on the tenterhooks for nearly two weeks. It also drew to a close the perilous search and rescue operation – arguably one of the longest in the history of mountaineering.
Tributes pour in for the unsung hero
Soon after the announcement, many - including the celebrities - took to social media and paid tribute to the fallen hero. Humayun Saeed, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Ushna Shah, Veena Malik and others shared condolences for Sadpara.
"Ali Sadpara will always be remembered as our national hero." the Jawani Phir Nahi Ani star penned, adding, "The tale of his love for the mountains, his passion and bravery will continue to inspire many."
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ— Humayun Saeed (@iamhumayunsaeed) February 18, 2021
Ali Sadpara will always be remembered as our national hero. The tale of his love for the mountains, his passion & bravery will continue to inspire many. Deepest condolences to his family and the families of Jon Snorri & Juan Pablo pic.twitter.com/5U9QPuQCxV
"Deepest condolences to his family and the families of Jon Snorri and Juan Pablo," he concluded.
Hamza also shared similar thoughts and wrote, "May Allah bless the soul of Pakistan’s hero Ali Sadpara and others who left this world with him."
May Allah bless the soul of Pakistan’s hero #AliSadpara and others who left this world with him.— Hamza Ali Abbasi (@iamhamzaabbasi) February 18, 2021
"May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah and give patience to Ali Sadpara's loved ones," actor and host Veena shared on Twitter.
Popular television host, Shaista, also paid homage to the late athlete and wrote, "Ali Sadpara, the great son of mountains slept forever on the second-highest mountain of the world."
#AliSadpara the great son of Mountains slept forever on the second highest mountain of the world.💔💔💔💔— Dr. Shaista Lodhi (@IamShaistaLodhi) February 18, 2021
Ushna shared a picture of Sadpara on her Instagram story as well.
Earlier, singer Ali Zafar has paid a heart-wrenching tribute to Sadpara, with his rendition of the song Paharon Ki Qasam – originally sung by Kamal Masood. Zafar had incorporated various traditional instruments, accompanied by a music video that features a series of snippets of Sadpara, along with picturesque B-rolls of the glorious mountains he climbed.
Posting the tribute on Facebook Zafar wrote, “No nation can thrive without recognising and celebrating their heroes. Ali Sadpara was one such unsung hero who dedicated his entire life and risked it to accomplish unprecedented feats for his country. This is the least I could do: sing for an unsung hero so that he is etched into our memories for as long as there is music.”
Forever in the mountains
Muhammad Ali Sadpara, John Snorri Sigurjónsson of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto of Chile went missing on K2 on Febuary 5 while attempting an unprecedented winter ascent without supplemental oxygen. K2 had never been scaled in winter until only last month when a Nepalese team accomplished the feat.
The trio was last seen near Bottleneck – the most treacherous trek of K2 – by Sajid Sadpara, who was also part of the expedition but had to give up after his oxygen tank malfunctioned. Sajid is confident the trio had scaled K2 and might have met an accident while descending.
“K2 has embosomed my father forever,” Sajid told a news conference in Skardu, Gilgit-Baltsitan (G-B), alongside government officials. “Pakistan has lost a brave and celebrated climber, while our family has lost a loving and caring head,” he added.
“To all the climbers who appreciate Ali Sadpara’s achievements and look up to him, I promise that I will carry on his dreams and mission and will continue to walk in his footsteps,” Sajid told the presser.