The killer Siachen

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Naseebullah Achakzai
This is a disagreement between two bald men for a Comb. Stephen Cohen. It has been almost five decades where Pakistan and India have been fighting over Siachen uselessly. Their Army personals have been the victim of weather, due to which the majority of them have died of its harshness rather than actual fighting. On the economic front, Siachen has been a serious risk where both states pour billions of rupees annually into this aimless war. The presence of armies and human waste in the region has been another grave peril for the environment and the water upon which both the states are dependent on. The question is, What else both countries are waiting to loss more? War is being fought over the masses of Snow, Ice and a place where human existence has been impossible throughout human history. The barren, hostile weather conditions, frostbite, blizzards, avalanches, cravenness, glaciers and sliding have made life unliveable. The region where the temperature falls to _60 degrees centigrade, where normal oxygen level falls to only thirty per cent on high altitude; is playing havoc with human souls. The wind at high altitude breezes with the speed of 200 KMs per hour, which further makes the living conditions unbearable. Both the Armies are suffering repeated deaths. One Pakistani soldier is died of weather every third day while one Indian soldier is died every second day. More than Eight thousand soldiers have died from both sides in which the majority had been fighting with grinding climate. Moreover, they lose weight and face psychological issues once they return alive. The presence of huge Army personnel has been a serious issue of both economies. An ample amount is spent on food, transportation, ammunition, weather protection equipment and high altitude clothing. Pakistan spent 15 million rupees per day while Indian spending is 50 million daily. The habitation of thousands of forces on the mountain is disturbing the natural ecology. In the last 5 decades, the glacier has shrunk by 10 KMs. It has become the world highest garbage dump region. It is estimated that 900 to 1200 human waste is dropped in the region from Indian forces. The huge dropping of metal and plastic (in the absence of natural biodegrading agents) are merged with glaciers which further convert in permanent pollution Consequently, these pollutants result in toxins like Cobalt, Cadmium and Chromium into Ice. This waste which pollutes Crevasses and Gullies then reaches to the Indus River system upon which millions of people of both the states are dependent. Notwithstanding, the wildlife has been seriously affected. The human presence has made the region inhabited for Ibex, Snow leopards, Bear and York. Though in Karachi agreement 1949 and Shimla agreement 1972, this region was not demarcated, the Mountaineers and climbers used to take permission from Pakistani authorities. The first permission was given in 1957 while from 1972 to 1980, Pakistani authorities gave permission to 21 mountaineers and climbers. In 1984, India occupied the region in Operation Meghdoot, by violating Shimla accord. Although, both states have tried to solve the 5 decades_old conflict by negotiating 13 times since the Kargil episode so far on the issue but, all in vain. Pakistan has time and again offered the demilitarization of the region, sadly, Indian response has not been positive, despite Ex Indian Army General V.S. Buhadur observation, “Nobody can win no matter how long we fight. The world’s highest battleground, the roof of the world Siachin has become responsible for the Killing of Human souls and huge environmental hazards for millions of the people of the region. What come may, both countries must take pragmatic steps regarding the evacuation and demilitarisation from the killer mountain. Indian oropolitics demands a brawny condemnation and muscular fist from international community. The dream of a mountain of peace, science park or peace park should be accomplished either by mutual dialogue or by the UNO intervention and guarantee.

(-The writer is a M.Phil political science Freelance Columnist.)

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