Ending Siachen standoff: Pakistan should take first step

Nawaz Sharif arrived in Gayari

SKARDU: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday called on the governments of Pakistan and India to withdraw their forces from Siachen, saying the first step should be taken by Pakistan.

Talking to reporters and members of the Gayari avalanche-affected families, Nawaz said Pakistan and India were spending billions of rupees on defence which could be diverted for the prosperity of the people.He highly praised the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, saying they were defending the country while staying in snow-covered mountains. He said the jawans of Gilgit-Baltistan had played an important role in the Pakistan Army.Nawaz said the present government did not have the will and the capability to fight terrorism.

“Immediate attention needs to be given to terrorism and its elimination,” he said, adding that acts of terrorism were proof of the failure of the government.The PML-N president also visited the residences of soldiers, expressed grief with their families, distributed cheques worth Rs 500,000 to each of the affected family and announced job for a member of each family in Punjab.He also said the Punjab government would bear the education expenses of children of the people hit by the avalanche.

Earlier, Nawaz arrived in Gayari by helicopter from Skardu. The PML-N president received a briefing on the rescue operation from Corp Commander Lt General Khalid Nawaz and Forces Commander Major General Akram ul Haq.Appreciating soldiers of army and their bravery, the PML-N chief said the entire nation was praying for them. He expressed his resolve to hold talks with India to resolve the Siachen dispute with Pakistan. – PT