Pakistan News

Renowned mountaineer Hassan Sadpara passes away

Renowned mountaineer Hassan Sadpara passes away

RAWALPINDI: Celebrated mountaineer, Hassan Asad, also known as Hassan Sadpara, passed away on Monday at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH).

The 53-year-old mountaineer had been admitted to CMH two weeks ago and was diagnosed with blood cancer two months ago.

After the diagnosis, Sadpara’s family first took him to a private hospital and some three weeks ago, the family asked the government to fund the mountaineer’s treatment. He was moved to CMH for better treatment on the directives of the prime minister and the Punjab government sent Rawalpindi District Coordination Officer Talat Mehmood Gondal to hand over a cheque of Rs2.5 million to the family on Sunday, a day before Hassan Sadpara passed away.

His son, Arif Sadpara had on Nov 8 appealed to the government to shift his father to the Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi.

Sadpara is survived by three sons and daughter, all of whom accompanied his body to Imambargah Balti, Angatpura near Banni, Rawalpindi to be taken to Skardu via an air ambulance.

“The government assured us that the body will be airlifted to Skardu,” said Arif Sadpara.

Hassan Sadpara was the first Pakistani mountaineer to have climbed the six highest mountains including Everest, K-2, Gashurbum-I, Gashurbum-II, Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak.

Hassan Ali Sadpara came from a small village by the name of Sadpara, some seven kilometres from Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan and was born in 1963.

He started off as a high altitude porter and also owned a small shop selling mountaineering equipment in Skardu city.

In 1999, Sadpara climbed the Nanga Parbat, on which he hoisted the Pakistani flag.

President Mamnoon Hussain has expressed grief and sorrow over the death of the mountaineer and said that Hassan Sadpara’s services will always be remembered.

The prime minister also expressed grief, and said Pakistan had lost a hero with the death of Hassan Sadpara and that the nation was proud of his outstanding performance.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir also paid tributes to the late mountaineer.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Maryum Aurangzeb had sent the mountaineer flowers a couple of days ago on directions from the prime minister.

GB chief minister Hafeezur Rehman, GB Legislative Assembly Speaker Haji Fida Nashad and other ministers also expressed sorrow on the demise of the national hero.

However, other than the delay on part of the federal government in providing funds for the late mountaineer’s treatment, no one from the GB government came to inquire after Sadpara, even though the chief minister was in the city when the mountaineer was admitted to the hospital.

Sadpara’s family made repeated appeals to the government to move him to a better hospital and make arrangements for his treatment abroad, all of which went unheard. Sadpara’s son also tried to contact real estate tycoon Malik Riaz to seek help for his father’s treatment.

Arif Sadpara had on Monday morning sent text messages, asking the country to pray for his father’s recovery after his health took a turn for the worst late on Sunday.

During his last interview with Dawn this summer, Sadpara said he started his career in 1993 as a high altitude porter and worked with various foreign mountaineering expeditions on the Karakoram and Himalayan peaks.

In 1999, he climbed the 8,125-meter high Nanga Parbat and in 2004, he made a record by scaling the K-2 in just four days and through the years, continued to climb other highest mountains as well.

He also climbed the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest in four days, from base to summit and he climbed all the high peaks without the use of oxygen, which very few other climbers do.

However, the late mountaineer was not properly encouraged by the government and was only given Rs5 million by the incumbent president.

In 2009, Sadpara had called on the then president, Asif Ali Zardari with two requests, the first for a sponsorship for climbing Mount Everest and the second was the establishment of a mountaineering school in Skardu and the president had approved both.

However, though he was sponsored for his summit of Mount Everest, the mountaineering school was never established.

“I want to [pass on] my experience, talent and skill to learning mountaineers,” he had said.

During his tenure, President Zardari had also announced that Hassan Sadpara will be given a job in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). On the directives of the president and Tourism Secretary Arif Ali, Sadpara had written many letters to the PIA authorities who told him they did not have a vacancy for him.

Jamil Nagri in Gilgit & Farman Ali Baltistani in Skardu also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2016

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