RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army helicopter that had gone missing last evening in Balochistan crashed, leaving six military personnel martyred, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Tuesday.
The military chopper had gone missing as it was en route from Quetta to Karachi at around 5:30pm. The personnel in the chopper were overseeing the flood relief efforts in the southwest of the country. Above normal monsoon rains and deadly flooding have hit Pakistan hard this year, killing hundreds of people so far and wreaking havoc, particularly in Balochistan. The army has remained involved in rescue and relief efforts there.
The ISPR, in a statement, said that the wreckage of the unfortunate helicopter was found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. It said that the accident occurred due to “bad weather” as per the initial investigation. All six officers and soldiers, including Corps Commander Quetta Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, embraced martyrdom, the military’s media wing added.
Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, who was commandant at the Command & Staff College in Quetta, had been commissioned in six Azad Kashmir regiments in March 1989 and served the Pakistan Army for 33 years. The Director-General Pakistan Coast Guard Major General Amjad Hanif had been commissioned in 19 Azad Kashmir regiments in April 1994 and served for 29 years in the Pakistan Army. Commander Engineers 12 Corps Brigadier Muhammad Khalid had been commissioned in the 20 Engineer Battalion in 1994 and served for 29 years in the Pakistan Army. Major Saeed Ahmed was the pilot while Major Muhammad Talha Manan was the co-pilot. Naik Mudassir Fayyaz, the chief of the crew, was also on board and embraced martyrdom.
The officers were part of the relief operations in Balochistan as the monsoon flooding, which began in mid-June, killed almost 500 people so far in Pakistan, including 149 in the province alone.
President Dr Arif Alvi made a telephone call to COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa and offered his condolences over the demise of six army officials in the tragic incident. All the personnel on board the helicopter embraced martyrdom, the COAS confirmed, adding that the incident took place due to bad weather and poor visibility during the rescue and relief operation in the province. He maintained that the wreckage of the copper has been recovered.
In his condolence message, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the Nation is deeply grieved by the martyrdom of Lt Gen Ali and five other officers of the Pakistan Army. “They were doing a sacred duty of providing relief to flood affectees. Will remain eternally indebted to these sons of [the] soil. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families!” he wrote on Twitter.
Expressing grief over the tragic incident, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif for the forgiveness of the souls of the martyred military personnel. Following the tragic incident, PTI Chairperson Imran Khan offered his condolences to the families of the martyrs. The former prime minister, in a statement on Twitter, said: “Tragic news about the army aviation helicopter crash and the martyrdom of all six on board. My condolences and prayers to the families of the martyrs.” “I had the privilege of knowing Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali whom I found to be a thorough professional and an upright, honest human being,” added Khan. PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also offered his condolences over the deaths of the Army official in the incident.
Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed heartfelt grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of Pak Army’s officers and soldier who embraced martyrdom in a helicopter crash in Balochistan.
According to the statement issued from Media Cell Bilawal House, Chairman PPP in his condolence message, said that his heart goes out to the bereaved families of Corps Commander Southern Command, Lt General Sarfraz Ali, Brig Amjad Hanif, Brig Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major M. Talha Manan, and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz.
PPP Chairman said that he was deeply shocked to hear the news of martyrdom of brave officers and soldiers of Pak Army due to a helicopter accident during relief activities in the flood-affected areas. Pakistan army officers and the soldier have embraced martyrdom in line of their duty. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that every worker and supporter of Pakistan People’s Party is saddened by this tragic crash and expressed condolences with the bereaved families of the martyrs.
Six Army personnel martyred in copter crash: ISPR