RAWALPINDI: Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar confirmed Tuesday that all the six military personnel, including Commander 12 Corps Lt-Gen Sarfraz Ali, were martyred in a helicopter crash.
In a statement, the DG said the wreckage of the unfortunate Pakistan Army helicopter, which had lost contact with the Air Traffic Control Monday evening while on a relief operation, was found in Mus Goth, Lasbela.
The military chopper had gone missing while 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 the five officers and a soldier, including Corps Commander Quetta Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, embraced martyrdom, the military’s media wing added. Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, who has also been the commandant at the Command & Staff College in Quetta, had been commissioned in Six Azad Kashmir Regiment 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 Regiment 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, has killed almost 500 people so far in Pakistan, including 149 in the province alone.
The spokesman for the Pakistan Army said that as per initial findings, the incident occurred due to bad weather. However, further details of the incident would be shared after detailed investigations.
President Dr Arif Alvi telephoned Army Chief Gen Bajwa and condoled with him on the martyrdom of army officials. Expressing his deep sorrow and grief over the unfortunate incident, the president prayed for the elevation of their ranks in Jannah and also expressed sympathy with their families on the irreparable loss.
Paying tribute to the martyrs’ services for the country and the nation, the president said that these officers were selflessly engaged in relief operations disregarding the danger posed to their lives to alleviate the suffering of flood victims. He said that the entire nation was indebted to them and saluted them for responding to the call of duty and providing relief to the people facing hardships due to heavy floods and bad weather.
During his conversation, Alvi affectionately recalled a briefing given to him by Corps Commander Lt-Gen Sarfraz Ali during one of his visits to Gwadar and said that he found the officer extremely capable and intelligent, having exceptional management skills. The COAS, while apprising the president of the unfortunate incident, said that the helicopter met with an accident because of low visibility due to bad weather and added that the wreckage of the helicopter had been recovered and all military officers had embraced martyrdom.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his grief over the martyrdom of the military officials. He said the entire nation saluted these officers for their supreme sacrifice. The prime minister also commiserated with the bereaved families.
The National Assembly also offered fateha for the martyred. Ex-president and President of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, Asif Ali Zardari, and Foreign Minister and Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed shock over the martyrdom of Lieutenant General Sarfaraz Ali, Major General Amjad Hanif, Brigadier Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major Muhammad Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz in a military helicopter crash in Balochistan on Monday.
Zardari expressed his sympathy and condolence to the families of the martyred officers and soldiers and said that the nation was proud of those martyrs who sacrificed their lives while serving God till their last breath.
Chairman PPP and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed heartfelt grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of Pak Army’s officers and soldier who embraced martyrdom. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that every worker and supporter of Pakistan Peoples Party is saddened by this tragic crash and expressed condolences with the bereaved families of martyrs.
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