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Family awaits body of Sherpa guide slain in Pak

June 27 , 2013

Family awaits body of Sherpa guide slain in Pak

Family members of Sona Sherpa were eagerly awaiting his arrival back home after a successful ascent of Nanga Parbat, the world´s ninth highest mountain. But with news of the attack by Taliban militants on mountaineers including a Nepali in northern Pakistan, the family of the 36-year old Nepali mountaineering guide is devastated.

They now await the arrival of the body from Islamabad. The telephone conversation the Sherpa family had with Sona from Nanga Parbat base camp on Friday turned out to be his last verbal contact with them. “He had assured us that he would return home without further delay once the expedition was over,” recounted his 70-year-old mother Furchhiki Sherpa, her eyes filled with tears.

Sona Sherpa of Chheskam VDC in Solukhumbu district was among 11 people killed by Taliban militants late Saturday in northern Pakistan. Taliban gunmen killed Sherpa along with Ukrainians, Chinese and two Pakistanis after breaking into their tents at base camp.
With their sole bread winner no more, Sona´s 28-year-old widow Doma Sherpa is now worried about the future of her two sons -- Pema Rinji, 8, and Pema Dorji who is 18 months old.

“I have no idea what I should do next. My sons are very young. How can I fulfill his wish to provide them a better education,” she asks herself even in her grief. Speaking with a chocked voice and swollen eyes, she said he had always dreamt of a bright future for their sons as he himself was not properly educated.

Surrounded by relatives and well-wishers gathered in a narrow room, she murmured, “It´s like a bad dream... I can´t believe he is dead.”
Prayer beads in hand, the mother of the deceased said, “I heard that some terrorists killed my son but he was not a political man. He was just a good man helping mountain climbers."

"As my mother said, being physically strong, helpful and polite was the ultimate reason for his death," said Chiring Sherpa, one of the younger brothers, who is involved in the trekking trade.

The attack was reportedly in retaliation for the killing of Waliur Rehman, second-in-command of the terrorist group, during militant operations. But the family expressed total ignorance about any real cause and about the terrorists involved in the killings.

"I don´t know about any political cause for my brother´s death. I only know that he was a very hard worker," said Chiring.
The Chinese expedition, with which Sona had successfully summitted Mt Everest, was dying to take him as an expedition guide for the Nanga Parbat expedition also, he said adding that unable to ignore their request he left Nepal on June 10.

As he was busy Chiring couldn´t talk when he called from India, but the last thing he remembers was that he was very sad about family.
According to his family, Sona had already climbed Mt Everest three times, Makalu once and the same Nanga Parbat once, in 2009 with a Korean team.

The Chinese expedition was about to begin its ascent of the 8,126m (26,660ft) Nanga Parbat from last Saturday, but unfortunately that was not to be, said Mingmar Sherpa, chief of the the Seven Summit Trek Pvt Ltd, which coordinated for the expedition.

They now hope to get the body here as soon as possible and wish to see whether the Nepal Government or the Pakistan Government would take some initiative for the proper education of his children and provide some relief to the family, the chief of the trekking company said.

Meanwhile, Bharat Raj Poudyal, Nepal´s ambassador to Pakistan, informed that the Pakistan authorities had given assurances of repatriating the body by Monday. “We are currently busy completing the necessary bureaucratic procedures and the Foreign and Home Ministries of Pakistan have been cooperating well in this regard," he said.