Former Defence Minister Chaudry Ahmed Mukhtar has said that the militaries of both India and Pakistan are stumbling blocks in the way of solution of the issue of Siachen Glacier.
Talking to BBC, he said that the resolution of the conflict was in interest of both the countries and they want to solve the problem. However, later in the day Mukhtar contradicted the statement and he said he had been misquoted by the BBC. “I never said that the Pakistan army is a stumbling,” he clarified.
In his initial APP interview when asked that if Pakistan was willing to solve the Siachen issue, why it does not take the initiative, the federal minister said, “India is the bigger of the two. She should take the first step towards the solution of the Siachen issue.”
He said that neither India, nor Pakistan is going to get anything out of this conflict and it is only a matter of satisfaction of egos. He said that the price of this satisfaction should be considered. “We want to enter into an agreement but Indians say that talks on Sir Creek should be held first, we say let us talk on Siachen first, again a matter of egos.”
Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said, “I feel army chief Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani understands the issue better than any other of us and he will have it solved when the time comes.” When pointed out that he was the defence minister and why his subordinate General Kayani should (be given the responsibility to) resolve the issue, he said, “He will guide us, cooperate with us, as we cooperate with the military.”
When asked while both the neighbouring countries want to solve the issue then what the barrier was, a smiling defence minster said, “the barrier lies where you have already mentioned; it is a matter of the ego of the two militaries.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.