Siachen tragedy: Army declares buried troops dead after 52 days

Published: May 29, 2012
Military declares soldiers as martyrs due to improbability of recovering anyone alive; consulted religious leaders. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Military declares soldiers as martyrs due to improbability of recovering anyone alive; consulted religious leaders. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday declared dead 140 people buried alive by a huge avalanche in Gayari more than seven weeks ago.

A huge wall of snow crashed into Siachen Glacier base high in the mountains in disputed Kashmir in the early hours of April 7, smothering an area of one square kilometre (a third of a square mile).

Only three bodies have so far been recovered from the remote glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battleground, despite desperate rescue efforts assisted by foreign teams, including from the United States.

The military said that given the improbability of recovering anyone alive, and after consulting religious leaders, “it has been decided to declare the remaining brave soldiers as ‘shuhada‘ (martyrs)” to try to reduce the families’ suffering.

“This is being done with mixed feelings of pride, grief and above all unflinching resolve to continue all out efforts to recover the bodies of all shuhada,” the military said in a statement posted on its website.

Rescuers have dug tunnels into the mass of snow and ice that hit the battalion headquarters of the 6th Northern Light Infantry to try to recover the bodies of 129 soldiers and 11 civilians at the Gayari camp.

The site is 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) up in the mountains, just below the glacier where Pakistani and Indian troops have faced off since the 1980s.

Kashmir has been the cause of two wars between India and Pakistan and the nuclear-armed rivals fought over Siachen in 1987, though guns on the glacier have largely fallen silent since a peace process began in 2004.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Kaleem
    May 29, 2012 - 12:13PM

    Inna Lillah :( We salute our shuhadas, who faced -50 degrees weather for us.Recommend

  • A2Z
    May 29, 2012 - 12:16PM

    May their souls rest in peace. Ameen

    Both countries should start a dialogue to withdraw from Sischen and turn it into a park. May sense prevails on both sides


  • Pakistani
    May 29, 2012 - 1:13PM

    Lives that did not have to be lost.

    Let’s treat this as a lesson on both sides and make every effort to stop subjecting our troops to such torturous conditions in the name of nationalism.

    Both sides seem willing to compromise and it would be a shame if these lives were lost in vain.


  • sutta
    May 29, 2012 - 1:13PM

    dead? For Gods sake ET please why you want to declare people who gave their life in the line of duty as dead and those who gets killed in the way of going more corrupt as SHAHEED? Man o man what a brilliant and responsible journolism


  • Shahzad Saleem Janjuah
    May 29, 2012 - 1:15PM

    Inna Lillah e Waa Inna Ilahe Rajahoon.


  • Ahmed HM
    May 29, 2012 - 1:43PM

    May Allah have mercy on their souls … Ameen.

    A Shaheed never dies …


  • Ahmed HM
    May 29, 2012 - 1:44PM

    May Allah have mercy on their souls … Ameen.


  • Ahmed HM
    May 29, 2012 - 1:45PM

    God bless their souls.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 29, 2012 - 1:54PM

    My salute all of our Army Jawans who embraced death in the line of duty at Siachen Glacier.

    May Al-Mighty Allah rest their souls in peace. Ameen


  • Ahmee
    May 29, 2012 - 2:01PM

    May ALLAH SubhanatAllah Bless the Martyrs and their grieved families, may the Nation turn to righteousness and serve the Motherland with the same spirit, dignity and devotion as reflected by the Martyrs of Giyari…Amen

    We are proud of you, you are the unsung hero’s and the true sons of Pakistan!!!


  • citizen
    May 29, 2012 - 2:07PM

    RIP brave soldiers


  • Bruce
    May 29, 2012 - 2:13PM



  • true_blue_pakistani
    May 29, 2012 - 2:16PM

    Declare the area as national cemetery and get out of the area!


  • MBK
    May 29, 2012 - 3:16PM

    Inna Lillahi Wa Inna iIlahe Rajeoon.Salute to all Shaheeds


  • Raw is war
    May 29, 2012 - 3:30PM

    too soon?


  • Rizwan Ahmad
    May 29, 2012 - 3:43PM

    May Allah accept the sacrifices of the soldiers and place the departed souls as Shuhada. Both Indo-Pak governments must decide a peaceful solution for this area.


  • Babar
    May 29, 2012 - 3:56PM

    Very Sad…. Allah Maghfarat karay aur Rasool-e-Pak ka kurb ata farmay Aamin


  • sick of this nonsense
    May 29, 2012 - 4:07PM

    heart goes out for the brave soldiers and their families. however some interesting points that I read were as follows
    1) Americans were there to help too. Why dont we highlight their help just like we highlight all their wrong doings?
    2) Why did it take nearly 2 months for the army to realize that the chances of survival were improbable? Why keep us all in false hope?
    3) Most importantly I also read that there were around 11 civilians like barbers posted there. Why are only the soldiers considered martyrs? Why not those 11 or so brave civilians who braved the cold and extreme conditions there?
    Again heartfelt condolences to the families of all who lost their lives.


  • Ahmed HM
    May 29, 2012 - 4:18PM

    @sick of this nonsense:
    Your comments are not connecting with this post, rather they seem to be immature dear.

    Americans were there to help for sure, but their contribution was too minimum.
    Don’t forget Lashkar-e-Taiba made a great contribution in the 2005 Quake, think about it that way and no one mentions them.
    There is something called as Hope and Morale. There is something called as Consideration. They kept on digging till they found a dead body and they then declared.
    Its in a metaphorical way. Everyone is a martyr there, and they were talking in general context.

    Guess you read a lot on ET … :)


  • Batman
    May 29, 2012 - 5:08PM

    @sick of this nonsense, those are some really stupid questions.

    Americans were there along with many other foreign teams, do you expect a special ceremony to be held to highlight the help of Americans?
    Army said in the early days there was small chance of survival but miracles can happen. They didn’t ask you to remain in a false hope that all people will survive unscathed.
    huh? because soldiers are the ones that go out and fight? Using your logic, pretty much everyone who dies in extreme conditions is a martyr.

  • Osama Butt
    May 29, 2012 - 6:30PM

    Dear 135 Soldiers,

    We owe you nothing less than our lives.


  • Blackbirdz
    May 29, 2012 - 6:39PM

    @Osama Butt:


  • Muhammad
    May 29, 2012 - 6:41PM

    These men died in the line of duty and that is the only reason to appreciate their service to their country. There is no need dragging religion into this.Recommend

  • Pakistani Agnostic
    May 29, 2012 - 7:42PM

    RIP sons of Pakistan. We are all proud of you


  • Muhammad Hassan
    May 29, 2012 - 7:59PM

    Thanks ISPR; I thought they were still alive.


  • Ali
    May 29, 2012 - 8:01PM

    Our brave soldiers. We love you.


  • Lobe
    May 29, 2012 - 8:51PM

    What use are all those missiles for????


  • Peeru Shah
    May 29, 2012 - 9:11PM

    Salute to all the martyrs of Pak Army where ever they embraced martyrdom.
    But at the same moment its high time for Pakistani and Indian leadership to de militarize the highest battle field on the planet.


  • Naresh
    May 29, 2012 - 10:12PM

    May their Souls Rest in Eternal Peace.
    May God give their Families Strength to bear this horrendous loss.


  • May 29, 2012 - 10:34PM

    Please Call them shaheed, they are not dead !!


  • Ex-Diplomat
    May 29, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Well my country did its part in this and we tried our best. At the same time though we have had to or needed to pull out all our staff working for development/aid agencies from Pakistan. sorry if i got that wrongRecommend

  • Sexton Blake
    May 29, 2012 - 11:32PM

    We are all devastated when somebody is killed and the Siachen disaster is no exception. As stated by so many this is a wake-up call to solve the Kashmir problem, which should not be a problem at all. I, like millions of others, do not expect a solution any time soon, but at least it would be good if a few Statesmen, from Pakistan/India put forward a basis for negotiation, with a timetable attached, which, on the face of it appeared to look workable, and would commence implementation within the decade. Alas, Statesmen with the power to solve the problem do not exist on either side. It should of course be realised that the Kashmir problem has far greater implication for the world than just Pakistan/India. I am led to understand that Osama bin Laden, and his Al Qaeda team team became involved with attacking America, because the U.S. was supporting India’s claim to Kashmir, and of course China is involved. I do not know why this was so, but with all these big players in the game I have a bad feeling that the Kashmir problem will not be solved quickly. However, I think that Pakistan/India should lift their game and start seriously negotiating.


  • Sohail Mahmood
    May 29, 2012 - 11:52PM

    may they rest in peace. The nation salutes its brave soldiers. shaheeds live forever.
    maybe we can call our troops back home, if India does so also. Make siachen the first joint Peace enclave in the world policed by India, Pakistan and the UN. police patrols only will do. No need for permanent stationing of troops.


  • Jennifer
    May 30, 2012 - 3:17AM

    Inna Lillah e Waa Inna Ilahe Rajahoon.
    They came from God and To God they will return


  • gp65
    May 30, 2012 - 3:30AM

    @Sexton Blake: “I am led to understand that Osama bin Laden, and his Al Qaeda team team became involved with attacking America, because the U.S. was supporting India’s claim to Kashmir,”
    Some brave men laid down their lives for your country. Their sacrifice should be acknowledged and all of us (including us Indians) pray that the Lord almighty gives strength to their bereaved families.

    This was not however time or place to come up with such obvious lies and vitiate the tone. I will not respond to your lies and allow this discussion to degenerate to a flame war. These brave men deserve better.


  • Malik Hamza
    May 30, 2012 - 3:34AM

    This is not a losss , but in fact they soldiers are 1 step ahead of us as they have entered Jannat and they have continued the rituals of Pakistan armed forces .
    Pakistan zindabad


  • Sexton Blake
    May 31, 2012 - 2:02AM

    Dear gp65,

    When will it be a good time to seriously discuss solving the Kashmir problem? The troops are constantly engaged in various confrontations, and troops will constantly be killed and injured. With your logic it will go on for ever if 74 years is not for ever. The way things are going Kashmir will beat the hundred year European war. Incidentally, I wrote about incidents which are in print. If the articles are telling lies I would be grateful if you could explain which ones are untruthful.


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