Naila Kiani, a mother of two and a banker, has achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first Pakistani woman to summit the over 8000-meter Annapurna Peak in Nepal. Notably, she has already conquered four other peaks of comparable altitude, including K-2. Now, Naila has her sights set on scaling the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, which would place her at the pinnacle of human achievement.
In Pakistan, mountaineering is a challenging sport, especially for women. Naila, accompanied by Shehroze Kashif, who became the youngest Pakistani climber to conquer the notoriously difficult Annapurna, has set an example for women who aspire to take on this sport. As a mother of two, Naila has shown that women can balance a family and adventurous pursuits like mountaineering. Her passion for climbing has spanned over a decade, and last year she joined Samina Baig in scaling K2, the world’s second-highest peak.
The efforts of climbers like Samina and Naila have increased interest in mountaineering in Pakistan. The country boasts five of the world’s 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters, including the notoriously challenging K2, which has been conquered by just 425 people since 1954, including only 20 women. In contrast, more than 6,000 climbers have summited Everest since 1953. Promoting mountaineering among women will send a message that they too can achieve great things alongside men in Pakistan. The government must provide more facilities to climbers to realize the true potential of mountaineering. Climbers like Naila and Samina have shown that nothing is impossible, and their success has placed them at the top of the world.