UPDATED: Death toll of Pakistani pilgrims in Hajj stampede climbs to 100 — dozens still missing
The focal person of PM House with regard to Mina tragedy, Tariq Fazl Chaudhry revealed that more than 1200 pilgrims embraced martyrdom in Mina stampede.
He added that meeting 228 missing Pakistanis was arranged to meet their loved ones.
“PM Sharif has directed to send the relatives of Mina stampede martyrs to offer Umrah on government expense,” Chaudhry told.
“The government has also announced compensation worth Rs 5 lac for the families of martyred pilgrims and Rs 2 lac for the wounded.”
The spokesperson of the PM House said the government will also send relatives of pilgrims martyred in Makkah crane crash to Saudi Arabia to offer Umrah, on state expense.
Earlier, the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousuf confirmed the death of 36 Pakistani nationals in Mina stampede among a total of 769 pilgrims who died in the wake of one of the worst incidents in years to hit the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
According to the Minister of Religious Affairs, the death toll of Pakistani pilgrims has risen to 36 whilst the number of injured have been placed at 37.
Sardar Yousuf also revealed that contact had been established with as many as 217 Pakistani pilgrims who were previously missing. As per the directions of ARY News, a helpline for the relatives of pilgrims has been set up.
Earlier, the ministry had issued a list of 18 Pakistani nationals detailing their names and other particulars on its website on Sunday.
However, unconfirmed reports and family sources had suggested the toll to be much higher.
Below is the list of martyred Pakistani pilgrims that was issued before:
311 Pakistanis missing, 76 reportedly found
Earlier, DG Hajj Abu Akif said that as many as 311 Pakistani pilgrims were missing, after the Mina stampede which killed more than 700 pilgrims on Thursday.
In what has been identified as the deadliest incident in Saudi Arabia this year, more than 700 pilgrims have died as a result of the fatal stampede that took place on Thursday, during the stoning of the devil ritual. DG Hajj Abu Akif confirmed that currently, as many as 311 Pakistani pilgrims were missing and that 76 of them had been traced.
Meanwhile, among the deaths of Pakistani citizens was that of Murtaza Gilani who happens to be a nephew of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
These 76 Pakistani pilgrims had contacted Abu Akif. Abu Akif also confirmed that a search was being conducted for the missing Pakistani pilgrims.
11 Pakistanis confirmed dead among the 718
DG Hajj Abu Akif confirmed that two of his relatives from Karachi were among the martyrs.
Two more Pakistanis – Khalil Mughal from Bhakkar and Haji Muhammad Arif from Lahore – embraced martyrdom. The wife of Haji Muhammad Arif confirmed his martyrdom in a telephonic conversation, adding that his funeral prayers were offered in the afternoon.
According to AFP, the most number of foreigners died the stampede belonged to Iran; 131, followed by 87 of Morocco, 14 India, 11 Pakistan, 3 Indonesia, 1 Netherlands.
The identity of three Pakistanis could not ascertained as yet.
At least 717 pilgrims were killed and 863 injured in the crush, which took place on Street 204 of the camp city at Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, where pilgrims stay for several days during the climax of the Haj.
The pilgrimage, the world’s largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of deadly disasters in the past, including stampedes, tent fires and riots.
— Basma Atassi | بسمة (@Basma_) September 24, 2015
It was not immediately clear what had caused the stampede.
The last major incident in Hajj took place in 2006, when at least 346 pilgrims were killed as they attempted to perform the stoning of the devil at Jamarat.
However, massive infrastructure upgrades and extensive spending on crowd control technology over the past two decades had made such events far less common.
Street 204 is one of the two main arteries leading through the camp at Mina to Jamarat, where pilgrims ritually stone the devil by hurling pebbles at three large pillars.
Reuters reporters in another part of Mina said they could hear police and ambulance sirens, but that roads leading to the site of the disaster had been blocked to prevent a further crowds developing.
Photographs published on the civil defence Twitter feed showed pilgrims lying on stretchers while emergency workers in high-visibility jackets lifted them into an ambulance.
It said more than 220 ambulances and 4,000 rescue workers had been sent to the stampede’s location to help the wounded. Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television channel showed a convoy of ambulances driving through the Mina camp.
“Work is underway to separate large groups of people and direct pilgrims to alternative routes,” the Saudi Civil Defence said on its Twitter account.
Thursday is also Eid al-Adha, when Muslims slaughter a sheep. It has traditionally been the most dangerous day of Haj because vast numbers of pilgrims attempt to perform rituals at the same time in a single location.
Saudi Arabia’s health minister blamed undisciplined pilgrims for the deadly stampede Thursday during the Hajj, saying the tragedy would not have occurred if they “had followed instructions”.
Health Minister Khaled al-Falih was quoted by El-Ekhbariya television as saying “many pilgrims move without respecting the timetables” established by authorities, which was the “principal reason for this type of accident.”
“If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided.”
Prince orders probe
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered an investigation into the stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage that left more than 700 dead on Thursday, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who chairs the Saudi Hajj committee, ordered the probe during a meeting with senior officials responsible for the pilgrimage in Mina, where the stampede took place.
The findings of the investigation will be submitted to King Salman, “who will take appropriate measures” in response, the agency added.
PM, president express sorrow
Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has expressed sorrow over the martyrdom of pilgrims in Mina stampede.
President Mamnoon also prayed for the departed souls and expressed his heartfelt sympathies for the families of Mina stampede martyrs.
“Today’s incident shows mismanagement and lack of serious attention to the safety of pilgrims. There is no other explanation. The Saudi officials should be held accountable,” he said.
After saying the kingdom was responsible for the tragedy, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Riyadh’s envoy to Tehran would be summoned to the foreign ministry.
The faithful had gathered until dawn Thursday at nearby Muzdalifah where they chose their pebbles and stored them in empty water bottles.
They had spent a day of prayer Wednesday on a vast plain and Mount Arafat, a rocky hill about 10 kilometres (six miles) from Mina, for the peak of the Hajj.
The ritual emulates the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), who is said to have stoned the devil at three locations when he tried to dissuade Him (PBUH) from ALLAH’s order to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail (PBUH).
The world’s Muslims commemorated Hazrat Ibrahim’s (PBUH) willingness to sacrifice his son by slaughtering cows, sheep and other animals on Thursday.
Stampedes in the past
In the past the pilgrimage was for years marred by stampedes and fires, but it had been largely incident-free for nearly a decade following safety improvements.
Preparations for this year’s hajj were marred when on September 11 a construction crane collapsed at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, killing 109 people.
In January 2006, 364 pilgrims were killed in a stampede during the stoning ritual in Mina.
The world’s 1.5 billion Muslims were on Thursday marking Eid al-Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar.
The hajj is among the five pillars of Islam and every capable Muslim must perform it at least once in a lifetime.