Pakistan

Family members of missing pilgrims slam govt apathy

KARACHI: Saddened over not being able to locate their loved ones and hit by the apathy of the government, the relatives and family members of pilgrims disappeared during Hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia made it to the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday evening with a glimmer of hope that highlighting of their plight by media could bring them some help.

A number of different family members whose loved ones could not reach home after the Hajj or communication with them was lost after the tragedy were facilitated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Sindh chapter president Haleem Adil Shaikh to address a press conference at the KPC.

A woman from Lyari whose husband went missing during Mina stampede said she had never thought that she would be sitting before the media to detail her ordeal. “My husband Abdul Ghani is missing and government is not helping locate his whereabouts,” she said with a teary-eyed face.

Another man from Korangi area, Khyber Khan, said he was unable to communicate to his father Yamuddin and mother. It’s been almost seven days that we have not been able to trace them. We last spoke to them on September 23, he recalled.

The dejected families had one grievance in common: the apathy of the governments towards pligths of pilgrims’ families back home.

They lamented slackness in government approach to cooperate with them. We are here to apprise media our plight and concerns as government is nowhere in sight to help us. Noone can understand the trauma we are going through, they said.

Nawab Khan, son of another pilgrim who went missing during the stampede, was also among those heaping scorn on the government. “The helpline provided to us is just an eyewash. They (operators) just attend our calls, but do not respond to any of the queries. It’s just causing us lose good amount in calls,” he regretted.

Speaking on the occasion, Haleem Adil Sheikh said his teams had successfully found two missing pilgraims – one a resident of North Nazimabad and other an air hostess from the same city.”

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