Claims six of the 105 Pakistanis on the list of victims died of other causes
ISLAMABAD: The religious ministry has triggered a new controversy after it delisted six names from a list of the Pakistani pilgrims who died in the deadly stampede during this year’s annual Hajj pilgrimage.
Until Wednesday, the ministry’s website showed 105 pilgrims died in the Mina tragedy. Of them, 92 were identified officially while 13 were identified by their relatives. But now it claims that six of the pilgrims died of other causes, and not in the stampede.
It claims that after a scrutiny of the victims, medics of Pakistan’s Hajj mission confirmed that six pilgrims died due to other causes. They include Islam Ahmed and Talib Hussian, who died in road accidents, Aamir Muhammad, who died of an electric shock and Muhammad Hasrat, Muhammad Hassan Khan and Abdul Latif Khan who died of natural causes.
Actually, these six pilgrims died the same day the Mina stampede happened, Religious Ministry’s Joint Secretary Noor Zaman told The Express Tribune. “When the Mina stampede took place these people were also taken to Saudi hospitals and later due to some confusion, their names were listed among those who died in the stampede,” he said.
However, later the hospital confirmed that these pilgrims died of other causes. Asked about the missing pilgrims, he said, “Day by day their number is reducing and hopefully all of them will be located soon.” “The government is willing to send the family members of these missing pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to identify the bodies,” he added.
According to the religious ministry’s website, 10 Pakistani pilgrims are still missing. One of them went to perform Hajj through the government scheme, four through private tour operators while the rest were Iqama holders. So far, 310 Pakistani pilgrims, earlier listed as missing, have been located.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.