(By Karrar Haidri/ExplorersWeb Pakistan) Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mr Riaz Hussain Pirzada bided farewell to Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) mountaineering team participating in the Pak China Friendship Expedition 2013 to climb 7,548 m high Mt Muztagh Ata, situated in Xinjiang Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China.
Pakistan flag mounted on an ice axe was handed over to Pakistani team leader Mr Rehmatullah forhoisting on the Muztagh Ata summit. The Minister for IPC, on the occasion, offered prayers for the success of the expedition. He said that mountaineers are true Pakistanis who take Pakistan flag to the summit of high mountains. In the aftermath of Nanga Parbat incident he asked the mountaineers to promote Pakistan as a safe destination for mountaineers and trekkers during their ascent of the Muztagh Ata peak with the Chinese climbers and whomever he come across during the climb.
He reiterated that Government of Pakistan is taking all possible measures for the safety and security of all foreign visitors. He further said that launching of the expedition is a testimony of the close friendly relations between China and Pakistan in the field of mountaineering. Earlier President ACP Col Manzoor Hussain (Retd) briefed the Minister about the background of launching this Pakistan China friendship expedition to China.
He briefed that ACP enjoys close relations with Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) and in the past has launched eight joint expeditions to climb all five Pakistani peaks rising above eight thousand metres, besides Mt Everest from Tibet China side from 1995 to 2007. He mentioned that last year a successful joint Pak China expedition to 7,027 m high Spantik peak was launched in Skardu, which comprised six mountaineers from both sides.
The present expedition is being launched on reciprocal basis especially after the Nanga Parbat Diamer Base Camp incident to pay tribute to the two Chinese who were amongst the slain mountaineers. He mentioned that except for one odd cancellation most of the remainder foreign expeditions are coming to Pakistan which shows their confidence in the safe environment in Gilgit Baltistan.Earlier President ACP introduced Expedition leader Mr Rehmatullah and the two members Ahmad Mujtaba and Dr Navid Iqbalto the Minister and informed him about their background climbing experience which included summiting of high peaks by the three mountaineers in last few years.
The three member mountaineering team departs Pakistan on 5th July and will cross over border to China on 7th July. They will attempt Mt Muztagh Ata from 8th to 27th July and hope to return back home by 1st August. CMA is providing logistic support to the team in China. Present on the occasion were Secretary IPC Mr Faridullah Khan, Additional Secretary IPC Mr Furqan Bahadur, DG Pakistan Sports Board Syed Amir Hamza Gilani, Secretary ACP Mr Zbu Zafar Sadiq and Mr Karrar Haidri ExplorersWeb Pakistan.
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