Pakistan Army dismisses as ‘propaganda’ militants claim of shooting down chopper

Pakistan Army dismisses as ‘propaganda’ militants claim of shooting down chopper

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QUETTA: Militants in Balochistan claimed they shot down a military helicopter that went down during a flood relief operation on Monday, killing all six on board including the commander of Quetta Corps.

However, a senior military official dismissed the claim as “propaganda” and “fake news”. The military said the helicopter crashed during bad weather.

The Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar (BRAS), an umbrella group of militant groups active in Balochistan, said in a statement sent to Reuters late on Tuesday that its fighters shot down the “low flying helicopter” with an anti-aircraft weapon.

The group provided no evidence and Reuters could not independently verify the claim.

The aircraft had lost contact with the air-traffic control tower in Balochistan on Monday evening while flying on a relief mission in a flood-hit area in the southwest.

The helicopter was part of aid efforts in flood-hit Balochistan, where rains and flash floods since June have killed nearly 150 people.

Ethnic Baloch insurgents have for decades waged a low-level militancy against the government in the province.

The province is also home to deep-water Gawadar port, which neighbouring China has been developing as part of a multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to link road and sea routes with Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The commander of the Quetta-based 12 Corps, Lt. Gen. Sarfraz Ali, was among those killed on the helicopter.

The government is currently using helicopters and boats to evacuate flood victims from various parts of the country, including Balochistan and Rajanpur, a district in Punjab.__Pakistan Today

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