Unfazed and optimistic, Slovak expedition arrives to attempt Diran Peak

Alpine Club of Pakistan has received special security assurances for team from G-B govt.

Waqas Naeem July 02, 2013
A view of the Diran Peak. PHOTO: FILE


Undeterred by the recent killing of foreign tourists by terrorists at the Nanga Parbat base camp, a five-member expedition from Slovakia has arrived in Pakistan to scale a mountain peak in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

The Slovak expedition, led by Peter Skorik, is aiming to climb the 7,266-metre Diran Peak in Nagar, G-B.

Two Slovaks, Anton Dobes and Peter Sperka, were among the 10 foreign tourists killed along with a Pakistani cook in the June 22 attack at the Diamer face of Nanga Parbat, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.

Addressing a press conference at the Jinnah Stadium, Skorik said they were shocked after hearing of the news back in Slovakia but decided to go through with the plan because they believed that Pakistan was still safe for expeditions.

“We know that this is a bad time for Pakistan and mountaineering but we are here because, even though this incident happened, this is still a safe country,” he said. “We understand that the people of G-B do not agree with the attack.”

Since the incident, Nanga Parbat has been closed for expeditions. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has banned foreign tourists from visiting Kaghan Valley. Media reports and tour operators have raised concerns that the terrorist attack could be the death knell for Pakistan’s already dwindling tourism industry.

Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) President Colonel (retd) Manzoor Hussain disagreed with the general impression the media had created in the aftermath of the killings.

Hussain said the Nanga Parbat attack was an “isolated incident” and thanked the Slovaks for their bravery in not aborting their expedition. He said that a Polish trekking team had arrived in Pakistan a few days ago and more were expected in the near future.

The ACP, which is facilitating the Slovaks’ expedition, has received special assurances from the G-B government that adequate security will be provided, he said.

ACP Secretary Abu Zafar Sadiq said the expedition would either be flown into Gilgit or driven there in a caravan. From Gilgit, they will be provided an escort who will guide them to the last village near Diran Peak, he said.

Hussain said the G-B government would also be setting up a police checkpoint near the village to prevent unauthorised persons from entering beyond that point.

Martin Pozar, a member of the expedition, said, “We are not here to indulge in politics or solve issues. We are here to climb and learn about your beautiful nature and we hope that the recent incident will not happen again.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2013.


Anoni | 11 years ago | Reply

All of us including the people of gilgit baltistan need to ensure and provide the security and safety to these dare devil . The media has just highlightly them as RED target by announcing they are here instead of making sure that they leave safely and then make a news out of it.

Careless Whispers | 11 years ago | Reply

Please provide them FOOL PROOF SECURITY

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