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Plea to turn Siachen into peace park

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KARACHI, April 8: Expressing sympathy with the families of the soldiers and civilians hit by the Siachen avalanche, the Pakistan Peace Coalition has urged Pakistan and India to declare the area as a ‘peace park’.

In a statement on Sunday, PPC’s representatives B.M. Kutty and Karamat Ali said “the crass political and military absurdity of maintaining thousands of troops at the forbidding height of 22,000 feet on the Siachen glaciers in the harshest weather imaginable has taken a tragic toll in the shape of over 150 soldiers and others being trapped under an avalanche that smashed into an army base”.

There have been reports that the two governments in recent months have realised the futility of the senseless confrontation that costs millions of rupees a day and reached an understanding that the area should be demilitarised, according to them.

They said that civil society organisations and peace-loving individuals in the two countries had also been demanding that both the governments should set an example by converting Siachen glaciers into the first ‘peace park’.

They said that it was a sad commentary on the wisdom of the ruling establishments that such a huge tragedy had been allowed to take place despite the regular occurrence of deaths of soldiers due to the harsh weather.

They said the death of 24 soldiers on the Afghan border at the hands of Nato forces had brought Pakistan and the United States face-to-face, “but who is to be blamed for the death of so many soldiers in the Siachen avalanche except the short-sighted rulers (of Pakistan and India)”.

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