Born in Okara, a small town of Punjab Pakistan, my world was limited to the belt from my town to Lahore only. I had read about the northern mountains of Pakistan in textbooks. To be honest, I never thought about going there because I was not a mountain lover or something like that. It was like that until I came to Lahore for intermediate studies in GCU Lahore. GCU Lahore is breathing ground for thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and travelers. There’s something in the air of GCU that only a Ravian can feel when he is walking in corridors where Allama Muhammad Iqbal and other revolutionaries once walked. GCU taught us how to talk with people, how to respect people and to maintain our own self-respect as a Ravian. In GCU, I met one of the best persons Soban who was an Islamabadian. The brotherhood was strong that I decided to move to Islamabad just because Sobi lived there. I ended up in an engineering institute of Islamabad though not in Sobi’s institute. Sobi left us all for eternal life four years ago but he taught people like me how to live, care for people and make the most of our lives.
Mountains became sanctuaries for me when I went to a short snow-hike to Nathiagali very near Islamabad. I have always believed that human race is bound to find the homeland that our great grandfather Adam A.S once had in paradise. The human race is now homeless and destined to find the home. All of this human struggle is to find that ‘home’. Since our home was once heaven, we tend to find its similarities in people, places, and things. Everyone has a unique perception of heaven. So almost everyone has a different kind of home. When I went to that hike, I have one thing clear in my mind this would be just a start. I found my home right there!
There is something so unique about mountains that the higher you go, the more you understand life and universe. They make you humble. Mountains are majestic, when you see them you’d know that your ego is nothing in front of magnificent creations of Almighty. I have never met any mountaineer who was rude or had ill-behavior. The more experience you have in the mountains, the more humble you become. That’s why I met the best of the people in the mountains. As Iqbal said “The man of the desert or of the mountains alone can further the purposes of Nature.” The best people are the ones living near to Mother Nature.
Being a student and admirer of history, I have always noted one amazing thing about great nations of the world. Somehow it’s very evident that all of them were travelers and nomads initially. I see that there’s a direct link between greatness and traveling. Let me give you some examples; Ibrahim A.S was ordered to ‘travel’ from fertile lands of Syria and Iraq to deserts of Arabs where he laid the foundations of Ka’aba. The eternal leader of Muslims Muhammad SAW had to ‘travel’ to new lands for trade and then ordered to travel for migration. Arabs were all nomads but these nomads went on to conquer the half of the world and laid the foundations of one of the most glorious civilizations. That civilization excelled in everything for some hundred years. Mongols were also the nomads. With a good leader, they conquered most part of the world and the Mongol empire of that time is still the second largest empire in the world. The Turks were also nomads, they also had one of the most iconic empires in history, the Ottoman Empire. All of these nations excelled because they had the individual character along with leadership. To learn those qualities, one must go out of his comfort zone and travel. Because there are things that only travel teaches you, traditional education systems are just unable to do that.
Pakistan is blessed with the amazing landscape and cultural diversity and has immense potential to grow as a nation. When I started traveling, I got to know the conditions of people living in mountains and the delicacy of their ecosystem. We founded this platform to teach people the art of adventure and connect communities. The focal point of our activities has been the locals living in the mountains mostly. It’s easy to go to the mountains and have a good time but to know the local community better, one must connect with them. The natives of these beautiful areas have a right to live a good life like all others. But when you go there, you’ll notice people desiring for the things we consider ordinary. They live very difficult lives, some of the remotest villages even don’t have basic health facilities. Mountaineers Pakistan aims to give people unique opportunities to travel to some of the unexplored regions and bringing a positive change in the lives of people living in those regions. Travelling is universal education and Mountaineers Pakistan wants to play its role in educating people.
I believe my journey with Mountaineers Pakistan has just started! The aim is great and ‘Josh’ is sky high. I shall be writing regularly my travel blogs too on the site. I hope you liked the post. Do tell us about it in comments!