Pakistan

11 Pakistanis die in Makkah crane incident: FO

ISLAMABAD: The death toll of Pakistani Hajj pilgrims in the crane incident in Grand Mosque of Makkah has increased to 11, while 26 others have been injured, foreign office here said.

According to Radio Pakistan the death toll of Pakistani pilgrims has reached to 11. Thirty-six Pakistani Hajj pilgrims were injured in the incident whose condition is said to be out of danger.

According to Foreign Office in Islamabad, Ali Raza of Lahore, Quetta’s Muhammad Yousaf and Muhammad Nadir, Qila Saifullah’s Akhtu, Muhammad Abdullah of Gakhar Mandi, Umme Naaz Muhammad and Ambar Bahadur Shah of Mardan, Gul Abdul Manan of Peshawar, Niaz Ali Niaz of Mohmand Agency, Ahmad Faiz of Lower Dir, and Naveed Murtaza of Sanghar were killed in the incident.

Earlier, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Manzoor ul Haq said that six Pakistanis were martyred in the crane incident.

According to Pakistani consulate in Saudi Arabia, Mardan’s Ambar Bahadur Shah, Umme Niaz and Abdul Manaan, Niaz Mohammad from Mohmand Agency, Ali Raza Iqbal from Lahore and Ahmed Faiz Ahmed from Dir area were martyred in the crane incident.

It should be noted that the world’s second largest crane fell at the Grand Mosque martyring scores of people who had arrived to perform Hajj.

However, Saudi media are reporting that the number of Pakistani casualties have increased to 15.

Moreover, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued the list of 16 Pakistani pilgrims that are undergoing treatment in different hospitals in the holy city.

Saudi king vows to find cause of pre-Hajj crane tragedy

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman vowed on Saturday to find out what caused a crane collapse that killed 107 people at Mecca’s Grand Mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The hajj, a pillar of the Muslim religion which last year drew about two million faithful, will take place despite Friday’s tragedy, Saudi authorities said as crowds returned to pray a day after the incident.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had already arrived in Mecca when the massive red and white crane toppled over during a Friday thunderstorm.

“We will investigate all the reasons and afterwards declare the results to the citizens,” Salman said after visiting the site, one of Islam’s holiest.

Parts of the Grand Mosque remained sealed off on Saturday around the wreckage of the crane, which also injured around 200 people when it crashed into a courtyard.

But there was little mourning among pilgrims, who snapped pictures of the collapsed metal and continued with their prayers and rituals.

“I wish I had died in the accident, as it happened at a holy hour and in a holy place,” Egyptian pilgrim Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.

Om Salma, a Moroccan pilgrim, said “our phones have not stopped ringing since yesterday with relatives calling to check on us”.

Indonesians and Indians were among those killed when the crane collapsed, while the injured included Malaysians, Egyptians, Iranians, Turks, Afghans andPakistanis.

Salman expressed his condolences to the families of the dead, and then visited a local hospital “to check on the health of the injured”, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

“Suddenly, I heard thunder and then we heard a very loud noise. That was the sound of the crane falling,” Mohammed, a Moroccan pilgrim, told AFP.

Another visitor caught up in the tragedy, Ahmed from Egypt, said he and those around him were “very scared, hysterical even”.

A Saudi official said the hajj, expected to start on September 21, would go ahead despite the tragedy.

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