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Tribal elders involved in recovery of helicopter crew: Foreign Office

Tribal elders involved in recovery of helicopter crew: Foreign Office

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Thursday the Afghan government is involved in efforts to ensure the safe recovery of the kidnapped crew of the crashed Punjab government helicopter and has provided news on the crew's condition.

"The Afghan government is in talks with the local tribal elders of the area where the Punjab government's helicopter crash-landed with a Russian navigator and six Pakistanis on board," said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria while talking to DawnNews.

"There has been a response [about the crew]. The crew is safe and they [Afghan government] are trying to involve the local elders of the area in the recovery process," added Zakaria.




"All efforts to safely the recover the crew are underway."

A Punjab government Mi-17 helicopter crash landed last week in Afghanistan’s Logar province where Taliban insurgents took the crew hostage.

DawnNews reported the helicopter had seven people onboard at the time of the incident, and was on its way for maintenance to Russia via Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan’s TOLO News, however, claimed the helicopter belonged to the Pakistan military. No military markings were seen on the helicopter.

Quoting spokesman for Logar province’s governor, it said that the helicopter crashed in the Mati area of Azra district.

Referring to reports of Pakistani labourers stranded in Saudi Arabia after being laid off and their wages withheld, Zakaria said that the Saudi employers are to be blamed for the problems.

'There is no involvement of the Saudi Government," he added.

The Foreign Office said the possibility that foreign elements may be involved in Monday's blast in Quetta could not be ruled out.

'RAW has been involved in terror related activities in Quetta and Karachi lately and India's involvement cannot be ruled out," said Zakaria.

"Kulbhushan Yadav's statement is also on record and investigations regarding that are on-going too," he added.

To a question over Indian claims of arresting an alleged Pakistani, Bahadur Ali, in held Kashmir, Zakaria said: "We have a firm position on it and we will not allow our land to be used against any other country."

He added that Pakistan was itself a victim of terrorism and was "committed to eradicate it". "We do not draw any discrimination in the terrorist groups," he said.

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