The Gilgit Baltistan government has come to the rescue of the ailing world-renowned mountaineer Mohammad Karim after his son decided to sell footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s jersey – a gift from the player to his father – in order to meet the medical expenses.
Karim is commonly known as “Little Karim,", the name given to him by the leader of a French expedition in 1979 that became his identity. It was not just Little, there were big and small also as there were three people named Karim in the group. However, Karim survived the test of time, according to a 2014 story in Dawn.
In a tweet, G B Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid said: “The government of Gilgit Baltistan will bear all the expenses of the treatment of Little Karim and employment will also be arranged for their children.”
However, he added that the mountaineer suffered from liver disease and the transplant was not possible due to the age. He also added his picture, Aaj News could not identify the timing of the picture.
G B’s Tourism Minister Raja Nasir Ali Khan had also made a tweet with similar promises.
The G B government came into action after Pamir Times, a local news service in G B, shared a video of Karim's son, Mohammad Hanif.
“My name is Muhammad Hanif. I am the son of the international hero ‘Little Karim’. My father is ill. Around Rs10,000-12,000 is monthly spent on my father’s medicines. I have not been earning any remuneration for the last two years,” he said, adding that currently, the family was in a difficult condition as they were finding it difficult to manage the house expenses.
Sharing his father’s wish for setting up a climbing school, Hanif said that he has sold his native house for buying the equipment for the school. He added that the family has no home to live in the village.
“Cristiano Ronaldo had gifted his shirt to my father and I have decided to auction it for my father’s treatment and meet his medical expenses,” he said.
The video was shared by people, including journalists based in GB.
According to media reports, the Portuguese footballer gifted his Real Madrid jersey to the mountaineer during a meeting in Spain in 2018. Little Karim is a fan of Ronaldo and had desired his intention to meet with the player during his visit to the country where he also met Spanish mountaineers.
According to Karim's interview with Dawn on June 22, 2014, he was born in the remote village of Hushe in the lush green valley of Skardu.
According to The Express Tribune's February 8, 2020, article "Karim also made a name for himself when he climbed the 8,035 metre-high Gasherbrum 2 without supplementary oxygen and set a world record in the process."