ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has deputed three Cabinet ministers to accompany dead bodies of envoys and spouses who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash in Naltar valley of Gilgit-Baltistan on Friday.

The ministers who have been deputed by the PM included Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastagir Khan and they would accompany the bodies of dead of the tragedy to Norway, Malaysia and Indonesia and Philippines respectively.

The ministers would take the dead bodies on special flights as a gesture of respect and to show the importance Pakistan attaches with its relations to these countries conveying heartfelt condolences from the government and people of Pakistan.


Norway expressed "great sadness" over the death on Friday of its ambassador to Pakistan in a helicopter crash.

Leif Larsen, 61, was "one of our best and most experienced diplomats" who was "very respected by his colleagues," Foreign Minister Borge Brende told reporters in Oslo, adding that his Pakistani counterpart had told him the causes of the crash "could not be fully explained yet."

"This will be investigated," and the Pakistani authorities have already "established an investigation committee," Brende said. Larsen, married and the father of one, had been stationed in Islamabad since 2014.

The ambassador was killed, along with the Philippines envoy and at least five others, when the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed on a school in a remote area of the Himalayas.

The Russian-built Mi-17, used by air forces across the world, has had a patchy safety record in recent years.

The Mi-17 is considered a reliable, no-frills helicopter, first built by Russians for use in hot and high conditions in Asia, said James Hardy, the Asia-Pacific editor for IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

"The military has a lot of money and a good reputation for looking after its equipment," he said. "The air force is well trained and highly professional."

The Pakistan military was believed to operate about 29 Mi-17s and the air force about six, he said.

Known for its spectacular mountain ranges, Gilgit-Baltistan is a strategically important autonomous region that borders China, Afghanistan and Indian-held Kashmir.