Home > Uncategorized > Pakistan avalanche brings call for glacier demilitarization

Pakistan avalanche brings call for glacier demilitarization

By Faisal Mahmood and Salman Rao

GYARI, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan’s army chief on Wednesday made a rare call for the demilitarization of the world’s highest battlefield after touring the site of an avalanche that buried 129 Pakistani soldiers near the border with rival India.

General Ashfaq Kayani was speaking 11 days after a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near the Siachen Glacier in the disputed Kashmir region was engulfed by up to 80 feet of snow. Eleven civilians were also trapped.

The tragedy has revived criticism of the 28-year conflict over the glacier, which critics say is futile.

Kayani, arguably the most powerful man in Pakistan, said the standoff has been costly in many ways, from defense spending to the environmental impact of deployments in the area.

“I think this is one good enough reason that this area should not be militarized,” he told reporters in the northern town of Skardu after viewing the avalanche site with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari from a helicopter.

Generals have ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 64-year history, through coups or from behind the scenes.

They set security and foreign policy, even when civilian governments are in power, as is the case now. Military spending consumes just over 17 percent of the state budget.

Rescue efforts were still under way near Siachen, with workers pushing through snow, mud and boulders using heavy machinery, life-detection equipment or even their gloved hands.

Brigadier Saqib Malik, the Siachen brigade commander, said a 200-feet deep mix of snow, ice, boulders and small rocks have covered the headquarters.

Highlighting the constant dangers of operating in the forbidding expanse, he instructed reporters to drop their equipment and run to a safe spot if avalanche warning whistles are heard.

The army has listed the names of the missing soldiers and civilians on its public relations website. There have been no death announcements and the military says it will not abandon the search and rescue effort.

“We will continue to make all efforts. Whether it takes 10 days or 10 months or if it takes three years, we are not going to give up on this,” said Kayani.”If we have to dig out this mountain, we’ll dig it out.”

Siachen is in the northern part of the Himalayan region of Kashmir. The no-man’s-land is 20,000 feet above sea level.

Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of hostility between India and Pakistan and was the cause of two of their three full-scale wars.

Indian and Pakistani troops in Siachen have fought at altitudes of over 20,000 feet in temperatures of minus 60 degrees Celsius.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 Indian and Pakistani troops are stationed in the mountains above the glacier.

Although Kayani stressed that it was the duty of Pakistani soldiers to defend their country no matter how harsh the conditions, he also said a political solution was needed to end disputes like Siachen.

“It is for the leadership of both countries to find a solution,” he said.

“We hope and we wish that the issue is resolved, so that both countries do not have to pay this cost, pay this price.”

A tentative peace process is under way and ties between Islamabad and New Delhi are at their warmest in years, with recent high-level meetings.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


Categories: Uncategorized
    May 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Mazhab se doori pehle laadiniat laati hai phir Qadianiat ki shakal ikhtiar karwa dati hai, Dekhna yeh hai keh kon log hain jo nojawnon ko pehley laadiniat ki taraf dhakail kar Qadianiat ka raasta ikhtiar karwa rahe hain?? Sindh, Baluchstan aur khayber pakhtunkhuah mein barhe barhe vadherey politicians, ministers, bureaucrates, Ulemas, bhi Qadiani mazhab ikhtiyyar kar chuke hain ya Qadianiat ki taraf jaa rahe hain. Mirza Mansoor Ahmed Qadiani ne yonhi nahi bayan deya tha keh ” Aadhe se ziada pakistani Qadianiat ikhtiyyar kar chuke hain”… Aajkal Baluchon per kaafi kaam horaha hai, unhein sunehrey khawab dikha kar uksaia jaa raha hai, pehle unko taaleem aur mazhab se door rakha, abb hathiyyar aur alahidgi ka naara de diya gaya hai aur Jamat e Ahmadiyya London establishment k zariye khail khail rahi hai. Issi jamat ne 1935 mein tahqeeq ki thi keh Baluchistan ka raqba boht barha hai, aabadi kam hai,samander bhi hai aur qudurti maadiniat se maala maal bhi hai aur unhon ne yeh faisila kiy thaa keh mustaqbil mein yeh khitta unka ho gaa. Agar establishment pakistan ki wafadar hoti to maadniat ko nikalne ka kaam ho chuka hota aur pakistan duniyya k ameer tareen mulkon ki fahrist mein hota…laikin Qadiani aur unki establisment ko aaj ka intizar tha kiunkeh woh Baluchistan k awam ko laadeni bana kar, Kuttar muslim Hazara Qabail ka safaiyya kar k aehedgi k baad Qadianiat ka perchar Baluch Qadianion se karwana chah rahi hai kiun keh unki planning mein Baluchistan Qadianiat ka HeadQuarter ho gaa, aur usska naam woh “DAR UL ISLAM” ki tarz per “DARUL AHMADIYYA” rakhna chahte hain.. Allah Pakistan ki hifazat kary aur Pakistanion ko apney dushmanon ko pehchanne ki taufeeq atta farmaiye

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