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PM announces “Sitara-e-Pakistan” for Naltar crash victims

ISLAMABAD, 12 MAY, (DNA) – Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has announced awarding of “Sitara-e-Pakistan” posthumously for late ambassadors of Norway, Philippines and late spouses of ambassadors of Indonesia and Malaysia who lost their lives in chopper crash in Naltar valley near Gilgit Friday last.
Paying rich tributes to them here at the Foreign Office during condolence meeting, the Prime Minister counted their valuable services and said that they were strong supporters of forging closer relations between Pakistan and their respective countries.
“We will always remember their valuable contributions,” he said. One-minute silence was observed in the meeting on the proposal of Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary.The ambassadors, high commissioner and senior diplomats attended the meeting in large number.

Sitara-e-Pakistan was awarded to Ambassador Larsen of Norway, Ambassador Lucenario of the Philippines, Habibah Binti Mahmud of Malaysia and Heri Listyawati of Indonesia.
“The tragic accident took away the lives of many friends of Pakistan; the entire Pakistani nation is deeply saddened. An occasion that would have been one of joy and happiness, turned into a traumatic experience,” the Prime Minister said. He said, “We have already spoken to the leaderships of Norway, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines on telephone and conveyed to them profound condolences of the Government and people of Pakistan.”
“Let me, on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan, express my deep sense of grief and heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Larsen, widow of the Norwegian Ambassador and Mrs. Lucenario, widow of the Philippines Ambassador, who lost their husbands in this dreadful accident,” he added.
The Prime Minister also expressed his profound sorrow to the families, especially the children, of the ambassadors of Indonesia and Malaysia.“And let us not forget the precious Pakistani lives lost in the tragedy, including the two brave pilots who continued their efforts to bring the helicopter back under control until the very last moment. They did not care for their own safety while endeavouring to ensure the safety of the passengers, including the foreign dignitaries, they were carrying. They and the other crew members upheld the highest traditions of devotion to duty that is characteristic of the armed forces of Pakistan,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the entire Pakistani nation was praying for the speedy recovery of the ambassadors of Indonesia and the Netherlands and others, who had sustained injuries. “We also pray for the health and early recovery of the Ambassador of Malaysia and Ambassador of Poland and his wife, who are under treatment,” he added. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “No words can express the deep anguish and distress that my government and the people of Pakistan have felt over the tragic events of the last couple of days.”
“The ambassadors and I were looking forward, for spending an afternoon in the beautiful Naltar Valley at the newly-built ski resort. We were eager to experience the wonders of nature in Pakistan’s magnificent northern areas,” he recalled.
The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in coordination with the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, and the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, had covered every detail in making it a memorable occasion. “But one never knows what fate holds in store. It is in such difficult times that we come together,” he remarked.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “I assure all the families and the envoys that you will not find us wanting. Pakistan and its people stand by the entire diplomatic community in their hour of grief.”“I have already instructed that transportation of the mortal remains of the deceased and medical treatment of the injured be carried out on an immediate basis,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the Foreign Office had also been directed to liaise with its missions abroad and with the relevant departments to ensure speedy and timely completion of all formalities. “This is the least we can do for our very dear friends who have been representing their countries in Pakistan in an exemplary fashion,” he added.
He also appreciated the courage and fortitude displayed by all members of the diplomatic corps who were in Naltar, and especially by the Dean of the diplomatic corps, who handled the entire situation in an admirable manner.
Earlier Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, speaking on the occasion, expressed a deep sense of condolence and sorrow with the diplomatic community. The Foreign Secretary said the trip was organised on the request of the Dean of Diplomatic Corps so that the ambassadors of various countries could join with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the inauguration of newly-built ski resort in the beautiful valley of Naltar in Gilgit Baltistan.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador of Argentina Rodolfo Martina Saravia, speaking on the occasion, said it was very a carefully planned trip for the diplomatic community to see the beauty of the Naltar Valley, but all ended in a tragic incident. He appreciated the elaborate arrangements made by the Foreign
Office, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Gilgit Baltistan Government and other organizations for the security and safety of the trip, but it ended in an accident. Ambassador Rodolfo Martina Saravia ruled out possibility of any terrorism or sabotage.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” he added. Prime Minister Nawaz had meeting with three bereaved families of the deceased of Naltar incident before the commencement of the memorial meeting. They were from Norway, Malaysia and Indonesia. He shared the grief with the bereaved families. =DNA

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