REMARKS BY THE PRIME MINISTER AT THE MEMORIAL MEETING
Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security & Foreign Affairs
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Last week's tragic accident took away the lives of many friends of Pakistan. The entire nation of Pakistan is deeply saddened. An occasion that would have been one of joy and happiness turned into a traumatic experience.
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.
I would also like to express my profound sorrow to the families, especially the children, of the Ambassadors of Indonesia and Malaysia who lost their mothers in this tragic accident. 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.As we speak, the entire Pakistani nation is praying for the speedy recovery of the Ambassadors of Indonesia and the Netherlands who have 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.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
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.
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. 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. The Foreign Office has 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. They were strong supporters of forging closer relations between Pakistan and their countries. We will always remember their valuable contributions. Here I would like to announce that in recognition of their services for their contribution towards forging closer bilateral relations, I am recommending to the President to bestow our civil gallantry award Sitara-e-Pakistan, on Ambassador Larsen of Norway; Ambassador Lucenario of the Philippines, Madam Habibah binti Mahmud of Malaysia and Madam Heri Listyawati of Indonesia.
Let me also appreciate here 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.
Let us bow our heads in prayer to the Almighty for the souls of the departed. May their families have the strength to bear this irreparable loss. Let us also pray for the speedy recovery of all our friends who are injured and are undergoing treatment.