ISPR says the six Pakistanis were among eight U.N. peacekeepers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash
Six Pakistani officers and soldiers were among eight United Nations peacekeepers who perished after their helicopter crashed during a reconnaissance mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Tuesday.
According to a statement issued by the military’s media wing, Lt. Col. Asif Ali Awan, the pilot; Maj. Saad Nomani, the co-pilot; Maj. Faizan Ali, Naib Subedar Samiullah Khan, the flight engineer; Havaldar Muhammad Ismail, the crew chief; and Lance Havaldar Muhamad Jamil, the gunner, were the six Pakistanis martyred in the crash. The exact nature of the March 29 crash of the 1 PUMA Helicopter has yet to be determined, it added.
The ISPR noted that an aviation mission of Pakistan had been deployed in the U.N. Mission Congo on peacekeeping duties since 2011. “Pakistan has always played a pivotal role, as a responsible member of the international community, to help realize ideals of global peace and security through active support in various U.N. peacekeeping missions,” it said.
“Our peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in executing challenging peacekeeping tasks in conflict-prone areas through devotion and, if necessary, rendering supreme sacrifices,” it added.
In a statement, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his “deep sense of shock and grief” and paid tribute to the global peace effort by the country’s armed forces.
Separately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was in constant touch with U.N. authorities to facilitate and expedite the early repatriation of the mortal remains of the martyred Pakistani peacekeepers. “We would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of maintaining international peace and security,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson.
He said 157 of Pakistan’s bravest peacekeepers had fallen in the line of duty while serving in U.N. missions, adding that Islamabad was proud of its longstanding and consistent contributions to U.N. peacekeeping missions over the past six decades.