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Published on 01 Aug 2011 | over 5 years ago

Col Arif belongs to Bhaun situated in the district of Chakwal. He was a true muslim and a brave officer. He embraced martyrdom while making a daring attempt to save the lives of his soldiers at Attabad Lake, Hunza on 19 May 2011. He was Commander Frontier Works Organization of Attabad Lake Project. His act of bravery and dedication will go a long way. His Namaz-e-Janaza was offered at Chakwal on 23 May 2011, which was attended by large number of senior military, civil officials and others. Rest in peace Sir, our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

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A serving colonel in the Pakistan army on Friday drowned in the Attabad Lake after falling into a muddy spillway while trying to rescue three others stranded in an excavator machine, officials said. "Colonel Mohammad Arif lost his grip on the rope trying to reach out to an excavator stuck in the middle of muddy spillway," an official in Hunza told The Express Tribune on Friday. "When the colonel was near the excavator machine, his grip on the rope loosened and the water currents washed him away," he said. Colonel Arif hailed from Punjab and was serving in the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), the military engineering branch of the Pakistan Army, which is engaged in the expansion of Attabad Lake's spillway. The excavator machine had been stuck in the middle of the spillway since last night with three FWO officials inside it. The three officials remained inside the machine for hours before Colonel Arif decided to take matters into this own hands. "Colonel Arif, risking his life, made a daring attempt at about 6:00 am on Friday to rescue those stranded but unfortunately lost his own life," said an FWO official. Despite day-long efforts conducted in coordination with the army, the police and local volunteers, the colonel's body could not be found. However, the stranded people, including the operator of the excavator, have been plucked to safety, the official added. Efforts to expand the spillway at Attabad Lake have been under way since 2010. However, despite numerous attempts which include controlled blasting, the lake has not been drained successfully.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2011

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