Islamabad, Pakistan (CU)_ According to reports from Pakistan, a Pakistan Army chopper carrying Quetta Corps commander Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali and five other military officials, including pilots and crew members, crashed in the Lasbela region of Balochistan late Monday night. It was also reported that all six people on board are thought to be dead. While the cause of the accident is being probed, there is a very strong and genuine suspicion that the helicopter may have been shot down by Baloch insurgents.
According to reports, the Balochistan Liberation Army, which has not yet issued a statement, may have spotted the helicopter as the Quetta Corps commander was on board. The Quetta Corps commander is a high-ranking official who deals with counter-insurgency operations in the region and protects the border with south Afghanistan. According to Pakistani reports, the names of the remaining five victims were: Brigadier Amjad Haneef (Director General of the Coast Guard), Major Saeed (the pilot), Major Talha (the co-pilot), and Naik Mudaiir (crew member).
The helicopter reportedly lost communication with ground control immediately after taking off from a facility in the Lasbela area of Balochistan. In the southwestern districts of Balochistan, the military is conducting search operations for the missing helicopter. While addressing the local media, a senior police officer stated that the sparsely inhabited region’s rocky topography hinders the efforts to identify the debris, victims, or survivors. Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, expressed his condolences for the death of the commander and requested the country to pray for the soldiers.
The prime minister took to Twitter and tweeted the following in Urdu: “The disappearance of an Army helicopter from Balochistan is alarming. The entire nation prays to Allah Almighty for the safety, security and return of these sons of the country who came out to help the flood victims. God willing…”. Former prime minister Imran Khan prayed for the safety of the crew aboard the downed helicopter. He tweeted: “Disturbing news of an army aviation helicopter missing and praying for all those on board.”