RAWALPINDI – The military has dispelled the reports of foul play from Indian side concerning the last week’s deadly avalanche and established new 6 NLI Battalion headquarter on account of the destruction of the previous one in the large-scale natural calamity.

On the other hand, the Foreign Office has called for implementation of 1989 Indo-Pak agreement for the resolution of Siachen issue.

“There’s definitely an environmental issue due to the large number of troops on the other side in Siachen but I cannot speculate if this has anything to do with the burial of our men in avalanche.” Director General Military Operations (MO) Major General Ishfaq Nadeem said responding to a query at a press briefing on the rescue operation in Gayari jointly addressed by the DG MO, DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas and DG South Asia Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Zehra Akbari.

Zehra Akbari said Indo-Pak agreement on Siachen signed between Benazir Bhutto and Rajiv Gandhi, the then prime ministers in the two countries back in 1989, required implementation for the resolution of the issue. “We are of the view that this agreement should be implemented for the settlement of Siachen dispute.”

The same agreement like a similar pact signed in 1992 has landed in cold storage. These agreements envisage Siachen dispute resolution through diplomatic channels and withdrawal of troops from the region by both the states.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation is full swing at the Gayari Sector of Siachen, where teams from international organisations and ‘friendly’ countries, including Germany and Switzerland, are assisting the Pakistanis. A US expert team has reached Islamabad and will reach Gayari on the first available flight once the weather improves. A Chinese rescue team arrived in Pakistan on Saturday morning while that of Norway would reach the country during early Sunday (today) hours.

AFP adds: Troops began excavating a new site in their search for 138 people buried by an avalanche, at a high-altitude army camp despite a fresh slide in the area, the military said.

A fresh slide at the same site created difficulties for troops conducting search operations in low temperatures, intermittent snowfall and blizzards, the military said in a statement, without specifying the date of the new slide.

“The rescuers have commenced excavation at a new site, using plant equipment and infantry troops,” it said.