A top Pakistani army General and five senior military officials were killed when their helicopter crashed while on a flood relief operation in troubled Balochistan province, the army said today.
The six individuals on board included the Commander XII Corps Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, who was supervising the flood relief operations in Balochistan province which has been badly hit by the torrential rains.
The wreckage of unfortunate helicopter which was on flood relief operations was found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. All six officers and soldiers including Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali died, said Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations – the media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces.
He said the accident occurred due to bad weather as per initial investigations.
The Pakistan army Aviation helicopter was on flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan when it lost contact with ATC on Monday.
Incidentally, General Sarfraz was one of the contenders interviewed by then Prime Minister Imran Khan for the post of Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in October last year, according to the Express Tribune newspaper.
He had served as Pakistan’s defence attache in the United States.
The others on board included Director-General of Coast Guards Brig Amjad Hanif (who was recently approved for promotion to the rank of Maj Gen), Brig Muhammad Khalid, Major Saeed Ahmed, Major Muhammad Talha Manan and Naik Mudassar Fayyaz.
Earlier, Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the search operations for the helicopter during a telephonic conversation between the two.
Shehbaz had expressed his concern over the safety of Lt Gen Sarfraz and other officials onboard the helicopter and had termed the senior army officer a “thorough professional and an excellent person”.
The helicopter took off from Uthal at 5:10pm on Monday and was supposed to land in Karachi at 6:05pm, but it lost contact with the air traffic controller, officials said.
Heavy rains and flash floods have wreaked havoc in Balochistan, claiming 478 lives.
The civil authorities and the Pakistan army are currently providing relief programmes to the displaced in the province.