RAWALPINDI - The Army has declared martyrs the 139 defence personnel, including soldiers and civilians, who were buried by an avalanche at Gayari Sector on April 7.

According to a press release, fifty-two days have passed since the tragic incident of Gayari. Notwithstanding the resolve of troops employed on search operations, excavation work is taking time due to constraints imposed by the terrain and weather.

“Through their untiring efforts, bodies of three ‘Shuhada’ (martyrs) have been recovered, so far. Nature and magnitude of the calamity is suggestive of no probability of recovering any person alive. Against this backdrop, religious leaders of prominence from all sects and factions were consulted,” the press release said. “Aspects related to socio-religious dimensions/implications, requirements to initiate the process of documentation, and reduction of the sufferings of the bereaved families have been evaluated in detail.

From this deliberate exercise, it has been decided to declare the remaining brave soldiers as ‘Shuhada’ (martyrs). 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 martyrs,” the press release added.