The number of bodies found from the Giari avalanche site has risen to four after rescuers recovered another officer’s body on Sunday.
According to the statement issued by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the body has been identified as Major Zakaul Haq.
Haq, second-in command of the Six Northern Light Infantry battalion serving in the Giari sector in Siachen, was trapped under the snowy rubble along 137 others – of which 127 were soldiers and 11 civilian employees – after a huge wall of snow smashed their headquarters in the late hours of April 7, 2012.
When contacted by The Express Tribune, the family of the late soldier was relieved after authorities confirmed that they had found his body. Holding back tears, Zaka’s father, Sardar Abdul Haq Chandio, remained steadfast in his support for the Pakistan Army and said: “I am proud of the soldiers who rendered their lives in Siachen along with Zaka and are still standing firm on the highest war front. My message for all of my sons who are vigilant in the line of duty is to not lose heart as the lesson you were given from the Pakistan Military Academy was to embrace martyrdom.”
The fallen officer’s father, who belongs to Muzaffargarh in Punjab, had earlier accompanied Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to the Giari sector on May 3 where he insisted Gen Kayani declare the men martyrs.
The Pakistan Army declared the victims of Giari ‘martyrs’ on May 29 after having detailed consultations with religious scholars.
Zaka’s brother, Ziaul Haq expressed his grief over the demise of his brother and said that they were extremely lucky to have someone like Zaka in their family. Zia added that his brother’s favourite quotation was: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things: and good things never die…”
“We will keep respecting and loving the Pakistani armed forces… We have been told by the army that they will always stand by us and my parents will never break this bond with the army.”
Zia said that military officials will reach Muzaffargarh on Monday to take part in major Zaka’s funeral.
According to the announcement made by the COAS, the search and rescue operation will continue until the very last body is recovered from under the snow.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.