Saturday Aug 06, 2022
ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has termed reports of him not attending the funeral of the shuhda — who embraced martyrdom in the Balochistan helicopter crash — as "unnecessary controversy" after it was speculated that the top official did not go due to the ongoing hateful campaign by social media trolls which posed a threat.
The president posted a thread for clarification on his personal social media account. It was not retweeted by the account of "President of Pakistan" till the filing of this report.
"There is unnecessary controversy on why I did not attend janaza of the shaheeds recently," the president said, a day after the martyrs were laid to rest with full military honours.
The president said that he is taking the opportunity to condemn, in unequivocal terms, the despicable tweets by those who are "neither aware of our culture [nor] our religion".
Alvi underscored that he has called hundreds of families, attended funerals and visited them to offer his condolences — stressing that he does not keep away during such occasions.
"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," President Alvi said.
He said it is especially difficult to condole with families where young children are 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."
His posts did not specify why he did not attend the funeral.
However, sources told Geo News a day earlier that the president wanted to attend the funeral of the martyrs, but he was stopped from attending due to the “false and negative propaganda created by PTI trolls”.
The president had expressed his desire as the supreme commander and head of state to attend the funeral, however, he was informed that PTI trolls have initiated a “toxic, false and negative propaganda about the martyrs” which has enraged the people, the sources said.
Therefore, President Alvi was advised that it would be better if he skipped the funeral to avoid any untoward incident. Adhering to the advice, the president did not attend the funeral prayers.
The president did, however, make telephone calls to the families of all six martyrs, his official account tweeted.
Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Babar Iftikhar has also condemned the negative propaganda on social media which was launched after the helicopter crash.
“We have been distressed since the accident on August 1. The propaganda has caused immense pain, particularly to the families of the martyrs," Maj Gen Iftikhar said.
Emphasising that this should not have happened, Maj Gen Iftikhar said that elements spreading negative propaganda and rumours should be rejected.
“Insensitive behaviour is unacceptable and should be condemned on every platform,” he asserted, adding that the Pakistan Army is grateful for the nation which stands by them and the martyrs.
On Tuesday, the martyrs of the helicopter crash — which took place earlier this week in Balochistan — were laid to rest with full military honours in Rawalpindi.
The funeral prayers of Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, Major General Amjad Hanif, and Brigadier Muhammad Khalid were offered at the Army graveyard.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, federal ministers, Azad Jammu and Kashmir's prime minister, foreign dignitaries, a large number of senior serving, retired military, and civil officials, and relatives of the martyrs attended the funeral prayers.