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بدھ، 11 اپریل، 2012

Siachen must demilitarise

 The intransigent Indian military commanders must understand what strategic import could a region hold and of what avail would be the retention of some high peaks or certain air force facilities on a glacier where even normal life is impossible to live. They must give up their obstinacy and let the almost-done deal between the two countries for withdrawal of their forces from there come into effect. The Siachen must demilitaries to the mutual good of the two countries, though no lesser to the good of the two militaries.
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Salute to our soldiers who laid their lives for our safety and security while performing sacred duties of defending their motherland on the world's highest war zone Siachen".
According to army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, on April 7, 2012 between 3 am and 4 am an avalanche hit 138 individuals including 127 soldiers and 11 civilians at Gayari sector near Siachen Glacier. Lt Col Tanvir ul Hassan, Maj Zaka ul Haq and Capt Haleem ullah (AMC) are part of the missing soldiers. The incident occurred at about an altitude of 16,000 feet and 180 miles northeast of Skardu, the capital of Baltistan. The rescue operation is underway. Troops with sniffer dogs, aided by helicopters, are recklessly trying to find signs of life in the deep snow after the avalanche engulfed the camp in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Army Chief, PML(N) leader Nawaz Sharif and all segments of life expressed deep sorrow and regret over the unfortunate snow slide" near Siachen. The Prime Minister said that truly the incident will not undermine high morale of the soldiers and officers. President Asif Ali Zardari has also expressed concern over the incident and prayed for the soldiers' early recovery. COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani went to Gayari for reviewing the rescue activities to recover troops.

The incident reminded me the year of 1992 when my unit voluntarily opted and went for deployment in one of the adjunct sector of Gayari. It also reminded me about a sticker revealing If we don't come back, remember that we have sacrificed our today for your tomorrow". My all comrades pasted that sticker on their bags and also mailed the texts of sticker to our loved ones. During that stay, we faced live bullets, artillery shelling, air bursts, ground attacks apart from natural catastrophe like avalanches, ice covered crevices with open jaws, varying temperature from minus 20 degree to minus 50 degree. Few of my buddies embraced Shahadat (martyred), injured due to enemy fire and some came under avalanches but every incident always infused new spirit in us. Nevertheless, every time we felt more committed and determined to defend our country with more vigour and courage. Visiting military hospitals and meeting our brave injured companions were part of our routine while going down or climbing up on expiry of our leaves. In this regard, I can't forget one of my Company Havildar Aziz to whom my under command officer Maj Inam Afridi (then Lieutenant) along with other soldiers rescued him back in emergency from a post located at 19,000 feet above sea level to the nearest Hospital Goma. Our military doctors with the help of Almighty Allah remained successful in saving life of Aziz but after imputation of his both legs. When I went to meet him in the hospital, the soldier without realizing his imputation of both legs proudly addressed me and said, Sir, I will join back to my post soon after recovery." It really gave me a boost, raised my moral and made me convinced that Pakistan will remain on global map forever till such time the soldiers like Aziz are alive in our country. The current incident of Gayari again strengthened my believe that our enemy should know that nobody can defeat us since it gave birth to soldiers like Col Tanvir and his colleagues who sacrificed their lives in frozen war zone in those dark nights when we are sleeping comfortably in our cozy beds. Thus, I can only say that Col Tanveer and his colleagues made themselves live forever after sacrificing their today for our tomorrow.

Anyhow, Siachen issue appeared on the list of Indo-Pak conflicts of military authorities as a result of an expedition report came to know that Indian troops are occupying an un-demarcated Pakistani area in 1984. It is very much true that Siachen had remained an un-demarcated region because of its impassibility. Most of mountaineering expeditions were used to visit the peaks while routing through Pakistani territories. Containment of China, strengthening stance over Kashmir and cutting down of links between China and Pakistan, are ingredients of strategic motives of Indian hegemonic design. Thus India moved her forces since she was fearful that Pakistan might move into the area and occupy some vantage peaks, India pre-empted to do exactly the same and set into place the longest conflict at the highest altitudes in the history of warfare. She claimed over the area of Siachen which is almost 700 kilometres in length. The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalaya Mountains at about 525'16?N 7706'34?E /35.421226N 77.109540E / 35.421226; 77.109540, just east of the Line of Control between India-Pakistan. At 70 km (43 miles) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas. It falls from an altitude of 5,753 m (18,875 ft) above sea level at its head at Indira Col on the China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at its terminus.
However, Pakistan rejected Indian stance over the Glacier and moved her forces to Siachen area with a view to stop further advancement of Indian troops. Pakistan has maintained that the natural boundary, or the ceasefire line  subsequently renamed the LOC  must go North-East to the Karakorum Pass from the point where the current demarcation ends (MJ9842), India, on the other hand, had held that the line travelled vertically North from that point. India's claim would have placed the Karakorum Pass just across from the Indian controlled areas; an eventuality both China and Pakistan would resist. The 1972 Simla Agreement merely located the boundary thence north to the glaciers'. But then, India moved to annex the series of peaks along the Saltoro Ridge, which travels exactly North-West eating further into 3,000 Square kilometers) of the Pakistani territory.
Beyond any doubt we can say that explosives have polluted the highest grounds and put adverse environmental effects in the area. The glacial melt advances under the weight of the two armies occupying those heights, there is an established danger of both India and Pakistan rapidly galloping towards the ignominy of water-stressed nations. Moreover, heavy expenditures of both the countries are increasing day by day. In this regards India is bearing expenditures almost five times more than Pakistan.
Concluding I suggest that in the first phase the area should be declared no military zone area and UNO should interfere and try to resolve the dispute between two nuclear neighbouring states. World community should force India to go back to the position of 1984 and start negotiations with Pakistan so that danger of nuclear war could be avoided.
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By Zaheerul Hassan
zameer36@gmail.com 

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