Lieutenant General Asif Ghafoor has been appointed as the Commander XII Corps (Quetta), replacing Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, who was killed a few days ago in a helicopter crash, the ISPR said. Lt Gen Ghafoor previously served as the 21st Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations from December 2016 to January 2020, when he was replaced by Major General Babar Iftikhar.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the ISPR said that in his new role, Ghafoor is “replacing Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali … who embraced shahadat (martyrdom) in a helicopter crash due to bad weather during flood relief operations in Lasbela, Balochistan, on 1 August 2022 (Monday).”

Lt Gen Sarfaraz Ali was among the six army officers killed in a helicopter crash near Musa Goth, Lasbela, a few days ago. The ISPR said the helicopter went missing when it suddenly lost contact with the air traffic control. The police said the chopper had gone “missing” in the mountainous terrain, making it extremely difficult to track it down.

After an hours-long search operation, the wreckage of the helicopter was found near the Musa Goth in district Lasbela, including the dead bodies of the six army officers on board.

The helicopter crash is still shrouded in mystery – the ISPR attributed the crash to “bad weather”, but an alliance of Baloch “pro-independence” groups, BRAS, claimed responsibility for downing the chopper. BRAS said its fighters had spotted the slow, low-flying chopper during a routine patrol in the mountains and shot it down.

The military officials have not yet commented on the claims.

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