ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A day after the tragic helicopter crash occurred in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Naltar Valley, the bodies of those killed including ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines were brought to Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi in three helicopters on Saturday.
The bodies were received at the airbase with full military honor. A guard of honor was presented to them.
On the occasion, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmoud, the three services chiefs, diplomats, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and other high ranking officials were also present.
“We are in close contact with the relevant embassies in order to shift the bodies of foreign diplomats to their home countries,” the Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said while talking to the media on the occasion.
The foreign secretary said that the bodies of foreign diplomats will be sent to their countries through special flights. He said that each special flight will be accompanied by a federal minister as a gesture of respect and to show the importance Pakistan attaches to its relations with these countries.
The federal minister Abdul Qadir Baloch will go to Norway, the federal minister Ahsan Iqbal to Malaysia and Indonesia while the federal minister Khurram Dastgir Khan will go to the Philippines.
Meanwhile, a C-130 aircraft carrying injured persons of Naltar tragedy also landed at Nur Khan Airbase.
On Friday, a MI-17 helicopter carrying 17 persons crashed due to a technical fault while landing in Naltar resulting in death of seven people including Ambassador of Philippines Domingo D Lucenario Jr, Ambassador of Norway Leif Larsen and spouses of Ambassador of Indonesia and High Commissioner of Malaysia.
Besides, two pilots and a crew of the helicopter also lost their lives while Polish Ambassador Andrzej Ananicz and Dutch Ambassador Marcel de Vink sustained injuries.
In a statement on Friday afternoon, the Foreign Office spokesman said that heads of diplomatic mission of more than 30 countries and their family members as well as some Pakistani dignitaries were being taken from Gilgit to Naltar in helicopters on a three-day excursion trip.
The spokesperson said that such excursion trips are regularly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the diplomatic corps.