The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday that six Pakistan Army officials, including two majors, were martyred after a helicopter crashed during a flying mission near Khost in Harnai, Balochistan.
"All six personnel on board, including two pilots, have embraced shahadat," the military's media affairs wing said, adding that the incident occurred late last night.
The martyred officials were identified as:
- 39-year-old Major Khurram Shahzad (pilot), a resident of Attock. He was married with one daughter.
- 30-year-old Major Muhammad Muneeb Afzal (pilot), a resident of Rawalpindi. He was married with two sons.
- 44-year-old Subedar Abdul Wahid, a resident of Sabirabad village in Karak. He was married with four children, including three sons and a daughter.
- 27-year-old Sepoy Muhamad Imran, a resident of Makhdoompur in Khanewal. He was married with two daughters and a son.
- 30-year-old Naik Jalil, a resident of village Bhutta, Lohara, Teh Kharian in Gujrat district. He was married with two sons.
- 35-year-old Sepoy Shoaib, a resident of village Khatarphatti PO Syeeda Teh Jhand in Attock district. He was married with one son.
The ISPR has yet to release details about the cause of the crash which comes more than a month after a similar incident occurred in Balochistan.
Meanwhile, the funeral prayers of the martyred soldiers were offered at Quetta Garrison, according to the ISPR. Balochistan corps commander as well as senior military and civil officials attended the funeral.
The bodies of the martyrs are now being sent to their native towns where they will be buried with full military honours, the ISPR added.
On August 1, a Pakistan Army helicopter with six people on board, including Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, lost contact with the air traffic control in Balochistan's Lasbela district.
A day later, the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Musa Goth, with all personnel on board embracing martyrdom. According to the ISPR, the accident occurred due to bad weather.
'Too many crashes'
Reacting to the news of the latest crash, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he was deeply grieved. He prayed for the deceased and their family members, adding that the entire nation shared the grief of the bereaved.
President Arif Alvi also expressed grief over the incident and paid tributes to the martyred officials.
An official statement on Twitter said the president prayed for the martyrs and extended condolences to their families.
PTI chairman Imran Khan extended condolences and prayers to the families of the brave soliders.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said he was deeply saddened to hear of the incident, terming it to be "tragic".
PTI's Fawad Chaudhry said helicopter flying was getting dangerous, adding that this required "engineering evaluation".
"Too many crashes [...] rest in peace bravehearts. All were too young to die," he said.
Climate Minister Sherry Rehman offered her condolences over the lives lost in the crash. She also prayed for the families of the martyred officials.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed deep grief and sorrow over the helicopter crash. In a statement, he said the entire nation paid rich tribute to those who sacrificed their lives while performing their duties.
"We wish Allah’s mercy upon the soldiers who embraced martyrdom in the accident and extend our heartfelt condolences to the brotherly people of Pakistan," the Turkish embassy in Islamabad said.