29 September 2023
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Austrian climber Wilhelm Steindl, who came to Pakistan to climb K2 but ended his summit midway due to the death of his local porter Muhammad Hassan, raised funds of 1,70,000 US $ for the deceased’s children and their mother.

Muhammad Hassan, the porter fell off a ledge and reportedly died a few hours later at a narrow path known as the bottleneck at K2, some 8,200 meters high.

After his death, one of the mountaineer Wilhelm Steindl ended his summit midway and returned to his home country where he started a campaign “Give me Fund for them” to financially help Hassan’s family and collected 1,70,000 US $ for them.

He was warmly received by Interim Minister for Tourism Wasi Shah in his office on Tuesday. At this, the minister talking to the media said that the government of Pakistan has also assured to cover all expenses of Muhammad Hassan’s family, widow, children, and mother.

Additionally, the government would fully support the education of Muhammad Hassan’s three children and secure a job for his widow besides comprehensive medical treatment for his asthmatic elderly mother.

However, despite these efforts, my heart remains heavy because my organization couldn’t do everything that should have been done for Muhammad Hassan and his family, said Wasi Shah.

He said there was no formal arrangement for porters however after he assumed charge of the Ministry of Tourism, PTDC made significant progress in establishing a mountain training center in collaboration with Gilgit-Baltistan University, with Wiley’s full support.

He said, previously, there was no provision for insurance of porters in case of accidents, leaving families like Muhammad Hassan’s without any financial support however after extensive meetings with stakeholders in Islamabad and Skardu, the government agreed on a minimum insurance coverage of 30 lakhs for porters, but he is still working towards increasing it to 50 lakhs.

The minister said that all these efforts were born out of the tragic loss of Muhammad Hassan, however, what truly amazed and inspired him was Wiley’s selfless dedication to Muhammad Hassan and his family, despite not being Pakistani.

He appreciated Wiley, on behalf of every Pakistani and humanity, and said “Your actions exemplify the best of what humans can achieve when they come together for a common cause”.

Abdul Gh Lone