Naltar tragedy: New advisory issued for diplomats

Published: May 12, 2015
Western envoys unlikely to use planes, copters offered by Pakistan govt. PHOTO: AFP

Western envoys unlikely to use planes, copters offered by Pakistan govt. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Notwithstanding that the May 8 helicopter crash in Naltar Valley was an accident caused by a technical glitch, foreign diplomats posted in Islamabad are unlikely to use planes and helicopters provided by the Pakistan government.

“Unfortunately, under a new advisory we may not get authorisation from our governments to travel on Pakistani planes or choppers anymore,” a Western diplomat told The Express Tribune.

Ambassadors of Norway and the Philippines, wives of Indonesian and Malaysian envoys, two pilots and a crewmember were killed when the Mi-17 helicopter of the Pakistan Army went down shortly before landing in Naltar Valley of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Western diplomat, who was also invited to the event but could not travel due to his preoccupation with official work, said that ‘stringent security protocols’ would now be observed for using any air facility to be offered by Pakistan.

The diplomat said the tragic chopper crash might not augur well for Pakistan to improve its image globally.

The diplomats, stationed in Islamabad, cannot travel on their own to certain areas, including the tribal regions as well as Northern Areas.

Following the Naltar tragedy Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry had defended the decision to take members of the diplomatic corps to G-B to showcase the natural beauty of the region on the grounds that it would help attract foreign investment.

When approached, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said such trips for foreign diplomats were ‘common’ all over the world.

“And we don’t force anyone to go on such trips. It is voluntary. It is up to the foreign missions whether they want to accept the invitation or not,” he said when asked that foreign diplomats might not travel on planes and choppers provided by the government in the wake of Naltar tragedy.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • SK
    May 12, 2015 - 8:53AM

    dear armed forces, you can fool us by marketing your brand to be the best in the world but actions (or lack of those) speak louder than words. keep looting out tax dollars to build empires, its not going to make things better for PakistanRecommend

  • Malveros
    May 12, 2015 - 8:59AM

    Shame on these Western Diplomats.Recommend

  • Jacob Zuma
    May 12, 2015 - 9:17AM

    Please stay home or like the Americans if you want to travel from Lahore to Karachi take Emirates… Via DubaiRecommend

  • Asim Ali
    May 12, 2015 - 9:54AM

    Not surprising. This was a mammoth tragedy. Wish the government of Pakistan, could also issue the same advisory on not to travel in PIA. We all know how dangerous the aged fleet isRecommend

  • Observer
    May 12, 2015 - 10:53AM

    Was this dilpmat also “instructed” by his/her govt not to abroad Malaysian Airline, Lufthansa (Germanwings), Air France etc. as all of them faced such tragedies???
    Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime!
    Get a life H.E.!Recommend

  • AA
    May 12, 2015 - 10:55AM

    I don’t think your words reflect Pakistani sentiments. It was a tragic accident, could have happened any where in the world, but unfortunately happened in Pakistan in a very wrong time. Blaming the failure of machine to operators is very sad.Recommend

  • Careless Whispers
    May 12, 2015 - 11:02AM

    MI17 is not a Pakistan Army Brand, get ur fact rights..Recommend

  • Burki
    May 12, 2015 - 12:10PM

    Can’t protect visiting cricket teams, can’t provide safe rides to foreign diplomats – exactly how do we expect to improve Pakistan’s image on global scene when our own lethargic and callous attitude towards safety keeps blowing our image and name to tatters?

    Those who’re saying it was just an accident that could have happened anywhere in the world – no, such accidents can be avoided, specially when you’re trying to portray a positive and improved image of Pakistan. If you look at our top military brass’ lifestyle you would think we belong to some first world rich country – yet at the operational level, what we have are these aging obsolete machines that can’t be trusted for such critical missions.Recommend

  • Demolition Woman
    May 12, 2015 - 12:38PM

    @Jacob Zuma: And why not ? Its most certainly a much better airline than whatever is locally available, not to mention the heaven and earth difference between Dubai airport and the facilities which pass as airports at Lahore and Karachi.Recommend

  • Demolition Woman
    May 12, 2015 - 12:41PM

    @Burki: Well, they can always travel by the great North West Frontier railcar !Recommend

  • Usman
    May 12, 2015 - 1:09PM

    @SK: Your lack of imagination is only surpassed by the lack of moderation of comments here at E.T.Recommend

  • Khan saheb
    May 12, 2015 - 2:16PM

    Pakistan! welcome to the reality of these ‘western’ diplomats, you lost thousands precious and innocent lives fighting their war against terrorism. These chickens should stay home whatever western part of the world they come from. China and Asia is good enough to emjoy some mutuality and trust …Recommend

  • Brain-eating amoeba
    May 12, 2015 - 2:32PM

    I have my own reservations with this accident, but i stand with my civilian govt and armed forces in these testing times. I can also relate to the sentiments of the foreign diplomats sitting in Islamabad. Things will improve gradually, and one day we will overcome all our shortcomings.Recommend

  • SK
    May 12, 2015 - 2:45PM

    @AA thanks for comments- you might be right but looking at the “recommend” votes situation supports my stand
    @careless whispers I 100% agree that heli was not Pakistan’s brand and I didn’t say either- kindly read CAREFULLY to understand the messageRecommend

  • kk
    May 12, 2015 - 3:11PM

    this is the most stupid advisory.stay home if u r so much affraidRecommend

  • Shakil
    May 12, 2015 - 3:32PM

    Indians portray tragic accidents to portray negative about Pakistan! There should be some respect to lost souls.
    Perhaps ageing fleet of aircraft should be revisited and taken out of service.Recommend

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