On Independence Day, along with revered state heroes, a nation needs to celebrate contemporary feats of heroism too. This August, Pakistan has been celebrating the achievements of 21-year-old Samina Baig. After conquering Mount Everest, Samina, with her brother Mirza Ali, is now heading towards Mount Elbrus in Russia. Having already had the better of the highest continental peaks in Argentina, Antarctica, Tanzania and Alaska, Elbrus will make them the first Pakistani siblings to have conquered all the highest peaks in seven continents.
But Pakistan’s government of the day has little time for celebrating the feats of the girl from Shimshal valley in upper Hunza. At the vanguard of the forces besieging it are hijab-clad, sloganeering women from Punjab, headline-grabbing footsoldiers of Canada-based firebrand cleric Allama Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehriq (PAT). With expectations and apprehensions surrounding Qadri’s Inqilab March from Lahore to Islamabad on August 14 reaching a fevered pitch as the date draws near, all eyes are on the so-called ‘chicks with sticks’.