ISLAMABAD    -    President Arif Alvi regretted and rejected the “unnecessary controversy” on why he did not attend the funeral prayer of those martyred in the Lasbela chopper crash.

“This gives me an opportunity to condemn in unequivocal terms the despicable tweets by those who are neither aware of our culture or our religion,” the president remarked on his series of tweets. Referring to the Quranic teachings, the president questioned how could one desecrate the memory and the sacrifice of those whom Allah had given eternal life.

President Dr Arif Alvi also telephoned the grieved families of the Pakistan Army officers who were martyred in a helicopter crash that took place recently in Balochistan. The president talked to Captain Ahmed Ali, son of Lt General Sarfraz Ali Shaheed and expressed his condolences to the family.

Admiring him as an upright, brave, efficient officer and a leader whom he had met frequently, the president said that it was due to these sacrifices that Pakistan stood strong today. The president talked to Saad, the young son of Brigadier Khalid Shaheed and conveyed his condolences. He asked him to thank his mother, grandmother and family for the ultimate sacrifice his brave father had given. “Of course, such incidents bring tears to our eyes and pride in the brave sons of Pakistan,” he remarked.

President Alvi called Major Asad, brother of Shaheed Brigadier (Major General to be) Amjad Hanif Shaheed and expressed his condolences to the family. The president said he was proud of the “Brigadier Sahib” and prayed for strength to his family. He also called and condoled the death of young Naik Mudassar Fayyaz Shaheed who was only 30. The president said that the very sense of sacrifice was unique feature in Pakistan and had kept safe.

Talking to the father of Co-pilot Major Talha Mannan Shaheed, the father of two very young sons, the president conveyed his prayers for them and rest of the family. He said the institution of Armed Forces took good care of Shuhada families. “Loss is, however, painful. They will grow up to be proud of their father In Sh Allah,” he hoped. President Alvi called Squadron Leader Ameer Ali, brother of Major Saeed Ahmed Shaheed, an outstanding pilot with an excellent career in service. The president said the nation was proud of him and his call was meant to appreciate and admire the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He also prayed for strength to the bereaved family.

Like all Pakistanis, the president said he had admired the Shuhuda all of his life. President Alvi said that he had called hundreds of families, attended funeral prayers and visited them to offer his condolences. “On your behalf, I consider it my duty to do so. The families have been proud, but we all recognise the sad and personal loss in this world,” he added. The president said that it was especially difficult to condole with families where young children were the survivors. “When the family members have cried, I have cried. There is no doubt in my mind that Pakistan is safe only because of their ultimate sacrifices. That is what makes me proud of Pakistan,” the president commented.