Jabbar Bhatti gearing up to attempt Nanga Parbat on Saturday

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Renowned Pakistani mountaineer Lt Col (R) Dr Jabbar Bhatti on Saturday will embark on the expedition to conquer 8,126-metre Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest peak, located in Diamer, Gilgit-Baltistan.

“I along with other four members of my outfit will depart from Islamabad to attempt the peak,” Jabbar told APP on Thursday.

The other four members of Jabbar’s team include Asif Bhatti, Dr Naveed, Saad Muhammad and Faheem Pasha. With a death probability of 21%, Nanga Parbat continues to claim its place in the top five most dangerous mountains in the world. Till now 85 of the climbers have died while attempting it.

“I’m well aware of the challenges. The temperature may drop from -35C to -40 C, while the wind can blow at a speed above 300 kph. But I feel myself well in shape and fully prepared for the task. This is what a mountaineer should always be ready to face,” he added.

Jabbar’s batchmates from Faisalabad Medical College remember him nurturing his urge to climb mountains but not at the expense of his education. He surprised his fellow batchmates in 1981, when he as a final year student opted for a two-week climbing course through Alpine Club of Pakistan, yet ended up achieving The Best Graduate Award in MBBS.

The next few years were to define his future. In 1982 he joined the Pakistan Army and in 1983 he attended a climbing course at the celebrated French National School of Mountaineering (ENSA). In 1984 all of a sudden, he ended up filling a vacant slot of military liaison officer with an expedition.

This very expedition, Gasherbrum-I & II, was led by the world’s renowned Reinhold Andreas Messner. After having been baptized by nobody less than Messner he achieved his first climb of 8,000 meters in 1985 when he climbed Broad Peak (8,050m) and emerged as achieving the unthinkable.

In the mountaineering world, he stunned everyone by scaling his first 8,000 meters peak in alpine style i.e. with no help of porters and advanced dumping of supplies. And in Pakistan, he became the youngest Pakistani to climb an 8,000 meters peak. The Government of Pakistan acknowledged that by granting him the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

Meanwhile, he volunteered to join the Special Services Group (SSG) and also mastered the art of paragliding. From there on his life alternated between mountain climbing in military expeditions, service with SSG, serving in AMC (Army Medical Corps) as a doctor and perfecting all disciplines of gliding. He honourably retired from the Army in 2007 as Lieutenant Colonel. (APP)