In April the Pakistan Peace Coalition urged Pakistan and India to declare the Siachen area as a ‘peace park’.
These words of PPC representatives B.M. Kutty and Karamat Ali were reported in a leading Pakistani newspaper, ‘Dawn’:
“The crass political and military absurdity of maintaining thousands of troops at the forbidding height of 22,000 feet on the Siachen glacier 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”.
Other civil society organisations and peace-loving individuals in India and Pakistan have also been demanding that both the governments should set an example by converting Siachen glaciers into the first ‘peace park’.
There have been reports indicating that the two governments in recent months have realised the futility of the confrontation that costs millions of rupees a day and reached an understanding that the area should be demilitarised.
The Financial Times earlier reported that Nawaz Sharif, a leading opposition politician, has urged Pakistan to unilaterally withdraw its forces – “a bold statement in a country where unqualified support for the military’s struggle with India is equated with patriotism”.
See our earlier news on a warming of relations between the two countries.