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Sartaj Aziz urges India to withdraw its forces from Siachen Glacier

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said presence of Indian forces on Siachen Glacier is a serious threat to the environment of Pakistan.

Talking to the state radio on Wednesday, he said Pakistan is a country facing water shortage and Indian forces are damaging the virgin snow of Siachen on daily basis‚ which is one of the largest sources of Pakistani waters.

Sartaj Aziz termed the presence of Indian forces on Siachen a big issue and urged India to resolve it on priority basis by pulling out its troops from the glacier.

He said that items of daily use disposed of by thousands of Indian soldiers are threatening the existence of the glacier.
According to environmentalists‚ glacial retreat on Himalayas and Karakorum ranges has accelerated during the recent years because of human presence on the glaciers.

Regarding outstanding water issues between Pakistan and India‚ the advisor said both countries are engaged to resolve them through multiple channels including Pakistan-India composite dialogue and Indus Water Commission. He said implications of water scarcity are grave in view of climate change.

Sartaj Aziz stressed on the proper usage of water in Pakistan‚ its conservation and building of new water reservoirs. He said Senate has recently formed a committee to deliberate various dimensions of water related issues and suggest its recommendations.

Sartaj Aziz further said Planning Commission s 2025 Vision will concentrate on water resources and will prepare a comprehensive sustainable development strategy while keeping the water scarcity of the country in its view.

To a question‚ he hoped for positive results regarding Afghan reconciliation process as international community is committed to establishing peace in Afghanistan. He said there is enormous international and internal pressure on all the stakeholders.

Earlier, inaugurating the South Asian Environmental Assessment Conference 2013‚ the advisor said fast race development of South Asia is encouraging; however‚ we must not compromise on environmental protection. He urged planners to involve people and civil society in decision making and create awareness about the environment.

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