ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan International Airlines flight carrying 47 people crashed on Wednesday en route to Islamabad from the northern city of Chitral, officials said.
Junaid Jamshed, his family, and Deputy Commissioner Chitral Osama Warraich were on board the flight and are among those died in the crash.
The airline said the PIA's ATR-42 aircraft lost contact with a control tower on its way from Chitral.
PIA spokesperson Daniyal Gilani earlier said the aircraft was missing and efforts to locate it were on.
"We regret to inform that PIA's ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons, lost its contact with the control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad," Gilani said.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) put the number of people on board at 47 but Sohail Ahmed, a PIA official in Chitral, said there were 41 people on board, including four crew members.
The plane manifest shows there were to be 31 men, 9 women and 2 infants on board the flight, including singer-cum-evangelist Junaid Jamshed and his family, as well as three foreigners.
The flight departed from Chitral around 3:30pm and was expected to land at Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport at around 4:40pm but crashed in Havelian near Abbottabad shortly after a distress call was sent to the control tower.
A government official on the scene told the media that there are unlikely to be any survivors.
"All of the bodies are burned beyond recognition. The debris is scattered," Taj Muhammad Khan, a government official based in the Havelian region, told media.
Khan, who was at the site of the crash, added that witnesses told him "the aircraft has crashed in a mountainous area, and before it hit the ground it was on fire."
The terrain is rugged and rescue and recovery operations are being hindered because of nightfall and the cold. Ambulances are unable to reach at the site of the accident as the aircraft crashed on mountainous terrain.
Junaid Jamshed was in Chitral for a Tableeghi mission and was returning to Islamabad when the aircraft crashed. He was scheduled to deliver the Friday sermon at Parliament mosque.
Jamshed was a prominent member of Pakistan's Tableeghi Jamaat, a global Islamic revivalist movement with an aim to urge Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam.
Jamshed rocketed to fame in Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s as the singer for the Vital Signs rock group, and later launched a solo career, with a string of chart-topping albums and hits.