Pak Army - Let Martyred Soldiers Defend Siachen
By Lt Col Zaheerul Hassan (Retired)
According to the media reports dead body of a Sep Muhammad Hussain, Shaheed has been recovered on the 50th day of Rescue Operation in Gayari Sector. The soldier¡¯s body would be sent to his native village located near Skardu. On 7 April 2012 an Avalanche has hit 138 officers, soldiers and civilians at Gayari sector near Siachen Glacier. Lt Col Tanvir Ul Hassan, Maj ZakaUlHaq and Capt HaleemUllah (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. President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Army Chief, PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharif, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, leading journalists and media anchors visited Siachen. Whole nation expressed deep sorrow and regret over the ¡°unfortunate snow slide¡±. The nation has shown solidarity with the aggrieved families of the soldiers and is continuously praying for their survival and safety.
However, the rescue operation is underway and entered into 50th day of the operation. Despite weather hazards, brave Pakistani troops with the help of experts from Germany, Switzerland, Xinhua and sniffer dogs, aided by helicopters and heavy equipment are recklessly trying to find their comrades under 80 feet deep snow after the avalanche engulfed the camp in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
According to ISPR update of May 22, 2012, ¡°clearance efforts continued round the clock at Gayari Sector. Simultaneous efforts are being undertaken to tackle effects of water on the site in the shape of pondages, cutting and crevasses. The water has started draining and has resulted into quick reduction of water level in the lake to the tune of 27 feet¡±.
¡°Excavation work has resumed its full pace despite difficulties posed by seepage of the water at the sites, hazards of crevasses / cutting by water and sinking effects for plant equipment¡±.¡°Meanwhile during physical inspection of the area, some equipment was found¡±.
Notably, COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is directly looking after the rescue efforts and being courageous commander determined to excavate each inch of the area in the search of his brave soldiers. I, being his cadet and retired commander of ¡°The Volunteers¡± (an infantry unit that served in Siachen Sector) can visualize the importance of search of the bodies of martyred soldiers for their comrades and families. But still, as fighter, familiar with the circumstances where many soldiers laid their lives in the war zones and area like Siachen but still their bodies did not recover or traced out due to topography, unfavourable environmental conditions and weather hazards. It doesn¡¯t mean that soldiers do not remember their comrades or nation forget its heroes those scarified their lives for their tomorrows. But, I would only say that while viewing the efforts of rescue operation, we must consider the ground realties too. Moreover, being Muslims, we fully convinced and have full faith that person who gets martyr in Allaha¡¯s path, will remain alive and never dies. Thus, it would not be wrong in saying that soldiers who had scarified their lives for us would be taken as everlasting invisible guardian of Pakistan¡¯s territorial boundaries. I also know that some loves one of the missing soldiers of Gayari Sector are in the opinion that now search of the bodies of missing personnel be stopped and they should be declared as Shaheed (martyr) since it is difficult to fight the nature.
On May 3 2012, father of Major Zaka, who came under avalanche accompanied COAS during his visit to Siachen, while talking to journalist appreciated the efforts of troops participating in rescue operation. He also stated that he is proud of his son and other soldiers who scarified their lives. According to ISPR press release, at that occasion, COAS remained with the troops for some time and lauded their motivation in face of tough conditions and extreme weather. He appreciated their resolve to upkeep Army¡¯s proud tradition of not leaving a man behind, until humanly possible, regardless of cost.
Anyhow, being one of the old warriors of Siachen, I know that after passing 50 days the chances of survival of soldiers buried under 80 feet of snow are very rare and meager. By now, the dead bodies might also be started decomposition because of natural phenomena. Moreover after two months time the temperature will again start decreasing which will definitely make the snow harder and harder. I would like to suggest here that ¡°Let Martyred Soldiers should stay there to Defend Siachen¡± and now army should start taking steps of compensation of the aggrieved families while declaring their loves one as martyred. Moreover over, in the houner of country¡¯s defenders, Army should build a memorial in Gayari sector. The memorial will keep us reminding about our brave soldiers those are there to defend our territories.
I would also like to mention few words of Indian Army Chief Interview of May 26 2012. In this interview, he instead acknowledging and giving serious thoughts over Pakistani COAS to de-militarize Siachen area rejected the same while considering his troops in the better deployment position where as it just amount to live in fool paradise. Indian Chief must consider the weather hazards and expenditures incurring on Siachen Issue. He should not forget his causalities which are more than Pakistani casualties.