ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A Pakistani army helicopter crashed Wednesday in the country's tribal region, killing a senior general and seven members of his staff -- including two other generals -- an army spokesman told CNN.
The chopper crashed in South Waziristan, where the Pakistani military is battling al Qaeda and Taliban militants. The cause of the crash, however, is not believed to have been caused by hostile fire, the spokesman said.
Among the dead, Maj. Gen. Javid Sultan was the top commander in the garrison city of Kohat in Pakistan's northwest frontier province near the Afghanistan border, the military said.
President Pervez Musharraf, who counted the general as a key ally, sent a personal message to the surviving families and "prayed for the eternal peace of departed souls and for courage to the grieved families," according to the state media.
Others killed in the crash include two brigadiers -- which are equivalent to the rank of brigadier general -- and a lieutenant colonel. No other names have been released.
In a separate incident, the leader of a minority political party was killed Wednesday as he drove through the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, a party official told CNN.
The information secretary for the ANP said Sindh Fazl Ul-Urrah Man Kakakhel, the group's vice president, was killed and his supporters have taken to the streets in protest.
Video from Karachi showed demonstrators burning tires.
ANP, a leftist nationalist Pashtaun party mostly centered in the northwest frontier province (NWFP), Baluchistan and the tribal areas, currently has no seats in parliament. E-mail to a friend