The Baloch Raj Aajoi Sangar (BRAS) claimed responsibility for shooting down a Pakistani military chopper near the Musa Goth in Lasbela that killed six army officers who were onboard, including a lieutenant general. The Pakistani officials said that the chopper had gone missing on the Monday night while it was on a “rescue mission.”

Six individuals were on board including the Commander XII Corps Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali, who was reportedly supervising the flood relief operations in Balochistan. Coast Guard Director General Brigadier Amjad Hanif Satti was also on board on the chopper. The ISPR said that the chopper was on a “flood relief operation” when it lost contact with the Air Traffic Control somewhere in Lasbela.

The Police sources said that the chopper had gone missing in the mountainous terrain, without even jeep paths, making it extremely difficult for the search parties to ascertain its location. There is also no cellular service in the area which further compounded the problem.

The ISPR confirmed in a later statement that the chopper had crashed in the mountains near Musa Goth, Lasbela, due to “bad weather.” But the sources on the ground and the meteorological date confirmed that the weather that night was moderate – 10-15 mph winds with almost 10% precipitation.

The Baloch Raj Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an umbrella organization of four Baloch pro-independence armed groups, claimed in a media statement that its fighters had shot down the military chopper. The group said that its fighters were patrolling the mountains in the Musa Goth region when they spotted the slow, low-flying chopper. They shot the chopper down and six army officers on board were killed.

Condolences poured in for the slain army officers. Pakistani President Arif Alvi expressed sadness over the death of the six officers. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in tweet that: “Nation is deeply grieved on the martyrdom of Lt. General Sarfraz Ali & 5 other officers of Pakistan Army.”

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said that: “Tragic news about the army aviation helicopter crash & the martyrdom of all six on board. My condolences & prayers to the families of the martyrs.”

The Pakistani army chief flew to Quetta on Wednesday to participate in the funeral prayers of the slain military officers. Chief Minister Balochistan, the Governor and high-ranking military officials participated in the funeral prayer. The army chief met with the family members of Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali and Brigadier Muhammad Khaliq to pay his condolences.

The Pakistan army chief also met with the family members of slain Lt Colonel Laiq Baig Mirza, who was abducted and subsequently killed by the Baloch Liberatoin Army (BLA) in Ziarat.

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