Getting high in Pakistan

Published: October 29, 2014
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Before seeing what the world out there has to offer, one should appreciate what our country has so that we truly know where it is we are from. PHOTO: HASAN ALI SHARIF

I believe words do not suffice when it comes to describing the emotions that run through you when you’re standing at the foot of a mountain. The raw beauty and power of these mighty mountains make you realise how small we really are. No matter how many times I see them, those mountains, valleys, glaciers or plains of multiple coloured flowers changing after every few feet, I am always left speechless.

Maybe it’s just me, but somehow, just being there instils this faith that there truly is a higher power out there.

To truly understand these mountainous areas and northern valleys, one must be witness to it. Pictures and stories are merely a depiction of what it means to be surrounded by them. I feel somehow that out there is where the real world is and here, among thousands of people in this metropolitan city, is just a bubble that we believe to be our reality.

Can you imagine what it would be like to look up at the night sky and have an argument over which star is the brightest of them all? The mind cannot comprehend the beauty but the eyes see what we only dream of seeing. I could stare at the night sky for hours, praying for it to never come to an end. The mountain peaks and valleys around you light up at night in a natural form. Man has changed so much of this world’s beauty that our generations to come will not know of what existed here once upon a time.

Here are a few photos from the many trips I’ve taken to the northern mountains. This might help people understand what true beauty Pakistan has to offer.

Maula ki basti (70kms from Naran). Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula ki basti (70kms from Naran). Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula ki basti (70kms from Naran). Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula ki basti (70kms from Naran). Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Basil. Photo Hasan Ali Sharif

Diran and Rakaposhi. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Meer Peak at Hoper Valley. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Meer Glacier at Minapin. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti Base Camp. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti Base Camp. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Basil. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Basil River. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti Base Camp. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti Base Camp. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Basil. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

Maula Ki Basti. Photo: Hasan Ali Sharif

People lead the simplest of lives in these vast mountains and valleys. They find happiness in the smallest of matters; whether it rains or not can become a matter of life and death for them. This may sound extreme but that is because the importance they give to things there could mean absolutely nothing to those living in the fast tracks of city life. They perceive life differently.

Age has no limits to the way they live. From a child to an old woman, everyone works for their household and livelihood, albeit to carry lots of wood or herd their cattle. A minor gesture from us means the world to them. We have so much to learn from them as to how simple life really is, rather than being a part of this worldly rat race we all are a part of.

Pakistan is a country with all seasons and natural beauty. It’s a pity that our country was not able to nourish the true potential it had in tourism. This country would have been more than what it is today. We talk about countries in Europe and the rest of the world but have not taken a step forward to understanding and seeing where we live.

The Swiss Alps for example, is a beautiful sight to the human eye; however, it is nothing compared to the kind of majestic sights we have in the northern parts of Pakistan. The second highest mountain, K2, is in our very own backyard. Before seeing what the world out there has to offer, one should appreciate what our country has so that we truly know where it is we are from.

People say we should leave a better world for our children; perhaps it’s time we leave better children for our world.

Hasan Ali Sharif

Hasan Ali Sharif

He is passionate for sports and the mountains. A Banker by profession, he tweets as @hasanalisharif (twitter.com/Hasanalisharif)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.