ISLAMABAD: All is set for the celebration of a 10-day 13th edition of Pakistan Mountain Festival to mark the International Mountain Day with the Margalla Hills Trail-3 hiking, cleanup and mountain biodiversity talk on December 2.
It would be followed by a live painting competition on “Mountain ecosystem” at the Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindi on December 4. Other events will include exhibition of paintings, Pakistan Mountain Youth Forum, screening of documentaries and mountain products and cultural showcasing.
Devcom-Pakistan Executive Director Munir Ahmed, who is the founder of Pakistan Mountain Festival, said: “The festival will conclude with a grand combo of events including a conference on mountain conservation, sustainable tourism and cultural heritage in the changing climate.”
Other attractions of the event will be mountain food stalls, handicrafts, folklore, cultural and musical performances by the troupes from Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza, Chitral and Swat.
Munir Ahmed said 20 best professionals will be given away 4th Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards (PAMPA) while some will receive Friends of Mountains Awards (FOMA).
National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) have consented to support the ceremony of awards.
The Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards (PAMPA) are dedicated to the five living legends in their fields and given to the best professionals that have devoted their lives for the mountains and its natives.
The Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards include one Agostino Da Polenza Mountain Conservation Award, four Shoaib Sultan Khan Mountain Community Development Awards, two Nazir Sabir Mountaineering Awards, one Ashraf Aman Sustainable Mountain Tourism Award, two Ustad Jan Ali Mountain Music Awards.
PPAF launched four Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) awards last year. From this year onward, we are including the Raja Changez Sultan Himalayan Odyssey Award for the artist that has been passionately painting mountains over the years, Munir Ahmed said.
Speaking about the objectives of the Pakistan Mountain Festival (PMF) and Pakistan Mountains Pride Awards (PAMPA) Munir Ahmed said: Usually, we don’t see the gradual impact of climate change on life, livelihood and as a stress on the ecosystems and natural resources until any big disaster happens.
Only then, mountains and its people get due attention. On the other hand, the mountain landscape and culture are changing too while the folklore and heritage also remains neglected.
Not much is done to consistently mainstream the mountains downstream where the actual decision-makers are sitting. People living downstream play a key role for the mountain inhabitants. So, they shall constantly be reminded of the mountain issues, and the mountain culture and heritage conservation.
“We are living in the era of climate change, evidently supported by science. Even those nations and sectors of industry who were in the state of denial have now accepted that climate change is happening very fast.
“Pakistan is one of the most climate vulnerable countries, and in Pakistan, mountains and its women are the most neglected and vulnerable,” he concluded.