Four soldiers have been killed after their helicopter, which was escorting President Pervez Musharraf, crashed in Pakistan.

General Musharraf, who took the most votes in a presidential election on Saturday, had travelled ahead in another helicopter and was unhurt.

He was visiting Kashmir to mark the second anniversary of an earthquake in the region.

But his spokesman, retired Major General Rashid Qureshi, was injured in the crash.

An army spokesman said the crash was due to a technical fault and he ruled out a militant attack.

A villager in Ghori said he heard some kind of blast as the helicopter overflew the village, in a valley 18km south of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

President Musharraf has survived at least three assassination attempts by al-Qaeda linked militants.

The most recent was last July, when assassins tried to shoot down his plane after it took off from the military airfield at Rawalpindi, but the plane was well out of range.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court says Mr Musharraf cannot be confirmed as the winner of Saturday's election by the parliamentary and provincial assemblies until it rules whether he was eligible to stand while still army chief.

He has vowed to quit the army and be sworn in as a civilian leader if he is elected.