It is just sheer bad luck for Pakistan, that in already fragile times, a freak accident could happen taking the lives of foreign diplomats. There was no foul play, no sabotage; sometimes tragedy comes without cause. Ambassador of Philippines Domingo D Lucenario Jr, Ambassador of Norway Leif Larsen and the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors were among seven people killed in a helicopter crash in Naltar Valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Two pilots, both majors in the army, and a crew member also died. This was a diplomatic trip involving members of 37 countries to over see projects and meet the Prime Minister. Such events are to be encouraged and are needed if Pakistan is to rehabilitate its image of being the most dangerous place on earth. But again, we cant seem to catch a break even when the country’s administration is trying to make things right.

DG ISPR said the helicopter crashed due to a technical fault and ruled out the possibility of any terrorist or subversive activity. However, human error has to also be ruled out after a thorough inquiry so that we can rest easy. It is highly disturbing for the military to have had this accident, when it is the only institution whose technical capabilities and attention to safety protocol are trusted. That a civilian aircraft crashes is one thing, it is quite another that this would happen to a military vessel. At the day security was on point. The school that the helicopter crashed into was closed because of the diplomatic trip to the area and so no body on ground was hurt. These Russian-made military transport helicopters can carry 32 people, so the aircraft was not over loaded. International evidence of the performance of these MI vehicles has been pretty reliable. However, the military is hard-pressed with few transport helicopters, most of them ageing.

Today is a day of mourning and rightly so. We are not callous to the deaths of foreign nationals on our watch, and the incident was regrettable. What is even more regrettable is that the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed that the incident was the result of an attack it carried out- a claim yet unverified. But with the military ruling out sabotage, it is unbelievable how these men can celebrate the loss of life, regardless of the nationality or religion of the people on board. It just goes to show the moral bankruptcy of the TTP, who act almost like vultures, circling over tragic death and destruction even when they have not caused it.