Pakistan to Honor American Who Built 45 Schools in Northern Areas
By Khalid Hasan


Greg Mortenson poses with students from the Khanday School in the Hushe Valley in remote northeastern Pakistan

Washington, DC: The Pakistan government has decided to confer Sitara-e-Pakistan on Greg Mortenson, the American mountaineer who has built 45 schools in the Northern Areas to reciprocate the kindness he was shown by the locals after his failed attempt to climb K2.
Mortenson has also built 10 schools in Afghanistan. His book ‘Three Cups of Tea: One man’s mission to promote peace’, has become a bestseller. He decided to climb K2 to honor the memory of his sister Christa. As he recalled his failed attempt in his book, “After 78 days on the mountain, I did not quite reach the summit, and was exhausted, emaciated and emotionally spent. On the five-day way back to civilization, I stumbled into a local village named Korphe, where the Balti villagers helped nurse me back to health. When I went to see the local school, I saw 84 children sitting in the dirt doing their school lessons. Most were writing with sticks in the dirt, and they shared only seven slate boards. Yet, despite abject poverty, I felt their fierce desire to have education, and saw their spirits soar. At that moment, I realized that I had not come to Pakistan to climb a mountain, but to help the children build a school to honor Christa.”
The decision to honor Mortenson comes in the wake of a column by this correspondent published in The Friday Times in June this year. The recommendation that the American philanthropist should be recognized for all that he had done for the children of Pakistan’s least developed area came from Federal Secretary GM Sikander who first learnt of what Mortenson had done from The Friday Times. (Daily Times)

 

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