|English: Location of Lahore, in Punjab. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
"A small rescue party had camped on the bank of (a) river to search for the body of a drowned/missing pilot," the statement said.
"Today, early morning, a few unknown assailants opened fire on the rescue party, which resulted in the shahadat (martyrdom) of six security forces personnnel."
The gunmen fled the scene after the shooting.
The attack took place near the town of Wazirabad, about 100 km (60 miles) north of the eastern city of Lahore, capital of the central Punjab province.
Such attacks are more common in northwest Pakistan, home to several militant groups, including the Taliban, but rare in Punjab. Some extremist groups are based in the southern part of the province, but are not known to attack security forces.
Pakistani security officials said they had started an investigation. No group had claimed responsibility.
"There are criminal groups active in the area, they could be involved. Or it could be militants, which could be a serious development," a senior Pakistani security official told Reuters. "We are not ruling anything out."
(Reporting by Qasim Nauman; Writing by Rebecca Conway; Editing by Ron Popeski)
ISLAMABAD | Mon Jul 9, 2012 8:20am BST