In today’s fast-paced world, we often find ourselves partaking in the same tasks over and over again, with very little to break the monotony of everyday life. Everyone has faced the regular 9-to-5 drill which leaves them drained, fatigued, and most importantly, deprived of any creativity or enthusiasm. To counter these woes, many individuals seek new and exciting activities – backpacking, cross-country travel, and many more adventurous tasks to reinvigorate themselves, in a bid to drive away the doldrums of their mechanical routine. With the steady increase in tourism and adventuring in Pakistan, many companies are looking towards introducing new forms of enjoyment at beautiful locations within our country.
Looking to break new ground and set a trend the likes of which have not been seen yet in our nation, Sakina Mannan and Zeeshan Mirza have formed a distinct outfit of extreme sports enthusiasts operating in Dubai that partake in the electrifying sport of skydiving. They aim to promote the development of adrenaline-pumping activities by encouraging adventurers to challenge gravity, and tap into the exhilarating sensations that skydiving provides. Tazyeen Anjum recently established contact with the duo to learn more about the wonders of this magnificent pursuit, and gained valuable insight into what exactly makes these daredevils tick.
Also, AgayBarho! really thinks the democratic government must take immediate action to safeguard the civilians’ rights to skydive in Pakistan in favour of equal opportunity.
What’s the status of skydiving in Pakistan and what’s your role in it?
Sakina: As of now, civilians are not allowed to skydive in Pakistan.
Zeeshan: We don’t have the facility to practice the sport in Pakistan. We hope one day we will be allowed to skydive in our own country, and be able to represent Pakistan at a national and international level.
What avenues of investment can open in Pakistan with this activity at play here?
Sakina: There could be a number of investment opportunities that have the potential to improve Pakistan’s tourism industry, as well as the country’s image at an international level. A local drop zone in Pakistan will provide a platform for all Pakistanis who want to try this sport, but cannot afford to travel abroad.
Zeeshan: With a skydiving facility set up in Pakistan, we can host a number of international events that would allow teams from different parts of the world to come to Pakistan for the purpose of training and competing in competitions.
Which locations in Pakistan do you think can be suitable for skydiving?
Zeeshan: When looking for a location to set up a drop zone, certain points need to be considered. Firstly, either an airport or a runway with complete facilities would be needed. The location should preferably be free of infrastructure [i.e. power lines, towers, buildings, bodies of water, highways and trees etc]. Factors such as weather conditions and accessibility need to be considered as well. Perhaps open lands in the city’s outskirts would be suitable locations. Pakistan has a number of beautiful locations that offer scenic views, ranging from mountains, lakes, greenery, and great weather conditions. Hence, opening a drop zone in the northern areas could be a great option.
How would you like to play an active role in this process?
Zeeshan: It would be a matter of pride for us to be able to play a role and facilitate setting up skydiving in Pakistan. We are a bunch of Pakistanis who have reasonable experience in this sport, and would be more than happy to extend our guidance.
Sakina: Our aim is to create awareness, and promote skydiving in Pakistan. Having a drop zone in our motherland would be like a dream coming true!
How many dives have you experienced up till now?
Zeehsan: I have over 800 skydives, with more than 600 just on wingsuit.
Sakina: I have close to 300 skydives.
What’s the experience like?
Sakina: Great! It is hard to express in words! Skydiving, or any other extreme sport is not only enjoyed because it gives an adrenaline rush and thrill. That might be just 20% of it. For us, the whole experience could be described as a therapy for the mind, body and soul. When one engages in such sports, it is perhaps the only time when one is fully focused, and into the present moment. Otherwise, we all are, usually, in every single second, either thinking about our past, or anxious about our future.
What does it teach you?
Zeeshan: It has taught me to focus, and believe in myself. I learnt to keep pushing my limits, and make the most out of every moment life offers.
Sakina: Skydiving taught me a number of lessons about life and spirituality. It reminds me of death, and this reminder alone has transformed my life altogether.
Haven’t you gotten bored of it by now?
Zeeshan: For us, skydiving is not just a sport; it is a lifestyle. We are still at an intermediate level, and there is so much more for us to learn. Every single jump teaches us something new and important. Extreme sports usually become an addiction and passion one would want to pursue for decades, if not a lifetime!
Zeeshan: We have a few projects in the pipeline, and to accomplish them, we would need support from our people.
Any message to the nation?
Zeeshan: Our message to the nation is to find at least one passion in their life, and then do everything to pursue it. Also, we would like to request Pakistanis to support us in our cause of representing Pakistan at the national and international level.