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'Demilitarize' plea after avalanche

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 01:33

April 19 - Pakistan's army chief urges demilitarization of the world's highest battlefield after a deadly avalanche more than a week ago. Paul Chapman reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Hopes have all but faded of finding any more survivors after the avalanche that buried 128 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians near the Siachen Glacier. It's been more than a week. Rescuers are searching for 129 still buried under 25 metres of snow that engulfed a Pakistani military camp near the border with rival India. The disaster's prompted Pakistan's army chief to make a rare call for demilitarisation of the world's highest battlefield. SOUNDBITE: PAKISTAN'S ARMY CHIEF, GENERAL ASHFAQ PARVEZ KAYANI, SAYING (English): "You would not have heard of somebody sitting on 22, 300 feet without oxygen and without any proper heating arrangement and they have endured it for a number of years. That's his job and he'll continue to do. That's my job, I'll continue to do that. But of course we hope and we wish that the issue is resolved so that both the countries don't have to pay this cost." Pakistani and Indian troops in Siachen have fought at temperatures of minus 60 Celsius and at altitudes up to 6, 000 metres. Military observers say the hostile climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire. Critics say the 28-year conflict over the glacier is futile. A tentative peace process is underway and, unlike conditions on the glacier, relations between Islamabad and New Delhi are at their warmest in years. Paul Chapman, Reuters

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'Demilitarize' plea after avalanche

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 01:33