PM offers assistance to Pak in avalanche rescue operation

New Delhi: Extending a helping hand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today offered to provide humanitarian assistance to Pakistan that is running against time to dig out 135 people, mostly soldiers, buried under snow after a massive avalanche slammed into a key army camp in the Siachen sector.

The Prime Minister made the offer for humanitarian assistance during his meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here at his Race Course Road residence.

Singh said India was ready to offer any help to Pakistan. Zardari appreciated India`s offer and said he will seek assistance if needed.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, rescuers resumed their desperate search after suspending the operation late last night because of darkness and poor weather, though there were no signs of survivors a day after avalanche hit the camp.

Military officials told the media that there was no information on survivors. Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani flew to Skardu to personally review the rescue operation.

Heavy machinery was airlifted from the garrison city of Rawalpindi for the rescue effort, officials said.

The avalanche hit a battalion headquarters at Gyari in Siachen sector, burying 124 security personnel and 11 civilians under up to 80 feet of snow in an area a kilometre wide.