“Do girls in Pakistan do sports?”, asked a friend in Stuttgart Germany. “What do you think?”, I replied. “I read in the Internet that Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for women and they are not allowed to do sports or do outdoor activities”, she answered. “How much do you believe in this?”, I inquired. “Oh man, don’t you watch the news, read in the internet or newspapers?”, she replied. “Well, I do but I don’t believe in everything with the image of Pakistan being portrayed. There are good and bad everywhere. However, the media shows mostly the negative image of Pakistan”, I answered. “Do Girls really do sports in Pakistan?”, she asked in a way as if she did not believe my words. “Yes they do sports as the girls here in Germany or anywhere else in the world”, I responded.
Later on, I decided to show her some photos of girls doing sports from my region in Hunza Pakistan. Maybe, someday, she makes up her mind and visit Pakistan, especially my region to see for herself not just girls doing sports but also enjoy the most beautiful place on Earth.
Dear friend, I take you to a journey to my region, Hunza-Gojal region of Pakistan and show you how girls enjoy some of the outdoor sports. Here we go;
1. Mountain Climbing
First and foremost, meet Samina Khayal Baig , a mountaineer from the Shimshal village of Gojal-Hunza. She is the world’s youngest Muslim woman and Pakistan’s first female to conquer the Mount Everest. Believe it or not, this 27 year old girl has climbed all the highest mountains in each of the seven continents: Mount McKinley, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Mount Vinson and Mount Everest. Shall I call it pure class?
Secondly, I would like to introduce Daina Baig, a girl from Misgar village of Gojal-Hunza who plays for Pakistan’s national team in both cricket and football. Besides cricket and football, she also manage her time for her studies. Shall I call it a girl-power?
Lets meet another girl from Hussaini village of Gojal-Hunza, a powerful athlete. She is a gold medalist in a race organised locally in the region. Maybe, the world media needs to show her to the rest of the world too. Shall I call it freedom of choices?
Football is like a religion in Germany. It may not be as famous as Germany, however, people in Pakistan equally love the sport. Lets meet a footballer, Muniza Ali from Gulmit village of Gojal-Hunza. She enjoys playing football and has the potential to be in the national team. Representing Gulmit Young Stars, she has plenty of awards in her bucket list. She has scored 7 goals in 4 matches including a hat trick against Al Saba Women FC in Gulmit Premier League 2018, a football league in the region. Shall I nick-name her Messi?
These are girls from Gulmit and Passu villages of Hunza Gojal playing volleyball. There is not only cricket in Pakistan. And the whole of Pakistan is not conservative. You will get another idea if you happen to visit Gojal-Hunza and find the females equally stronger as men and enjoy playing sports like volleyball. Shall we call it girls empowerment?
6. Martial Arts
She is from Ghulkin village of Hunza Gojal competing with an opponent in Judo competition in Islamabad. It is encouraging that the families in Hunza-Gojal encourage their daughters to do sports and education side by side. The literacy rate is Hunza-Gojal is above 95%. The girls are encouraged to do sports not because of fitness issues but to make them stronger as individuals and to win for their country, region and themselves. The Hunza girls are naturally fit because they belong to the mountains and they help their families in the fields, house chores and with the animals. Besides, the girls in Hunza-Gojal are excelling in their studies. Shall I call this beauty with brain and strength?
7. Juvenile Throwing
The positive thing about my region is that girls are showing full interest and love doing sports. This girl from Hunza-Gojal is competing in juvenile throwing. More encouragement in the form of proper funding, training and sports education can produce world class athletes and healthier societies.
8. Ice Skating
We still dont see our girls in the World Ice Skating Championships in the Winter Olympics. The truth is that Pakistan has still a long way to encourage such sports at world level. This doesn’t mean that boys and girls dont enjoy ice skating. The arena for ice skating is natural and probably the most beautiful in the world. Maybe, you should start working on your visa documents. When are you visiting? 🙂
This teenager cyclist from Hunza-Gojal has participated in a cycling championship in the region. Cycling for about 200 km and at a height of around 4000m above the sea level shows her strength and speaks for her courage.
10. Mixed Marshal Arts
Last but not the least, meet Anita Karim from central Hunza, the first ever female MMA (mixed marshal arts) fighter from Pakistan. She punches her opponents faces as strong as men and kicks the asses of naysayers harder than you think. She is an icon for girls not only in Hunza but the entire nation.
The main idea was to show a postive image of Pakistan and that girls can excel not only in quality education but also in quality sports. However, there are factors such as social stigma, lack of access, safety and transportation issues, costs, etc. that contribute to the reasons why girls drop out of sports or don’t participate in them as much as boys. On the other hand, there are girls who find no excuses. They just do it.
About the Author
Muhammad Ali is an engineer from Hunza-Gojal Pakistan, currently working in Germany. Moreover, he likes volunteer work, travelling, reading, blogging and cyling.