Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has called on Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf to update the upper house of parliament on the Mina stampede incident.
“He [religious minister] should come with a complete report and brief the house tomorrow [Tuesday],” he said, adding that the minister will have to inform the house what he had been doing in Saudi Arabia.
The chairman issued these directives to the federal minister through Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Muhammad Aminul Hasnat Shah.
Quoting the information available with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Shah said there were 97 martyrs, 56 of whom were officially verified by the Saudi government and 41 were identified by their relatives.
He added that all the injured, accordingly to their database, had been discharged from hospitals – except for two.
Read: Mina stampede: Plea on Hajj tragedy ‘bid to strain Riyadh ties’
The state minister cited the number of missing persons to be 20, which included eight Iqama holders. A total of 309 have been located, he said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a compensation of Rs0.5 million for each of the deceased and nearly Rs0.2 million for each injured pilgrim, he said.
Earlier, Senator Kalsoom Parveen moved a motion to discuss Hajj policy of the government with particular reference to the performance of the ministry in providing assistance to the pilgrims after the Mina stampede.
She said the Saudi government should be requested to allow families of the martyrs to identity them, visit their graves and also confirm the status of missing pilgrims.
Senator Farhatullah Babar informed the house that four people from Edhi Foundation had been denied visa after they filed visa applications to the foreign office for going to Saudi Arabia to investigate the matter regarding bodies or missing persons.
Read: Mina stampede: Death toll of Pakistani pilgrims rises to 76
Senator Sehar Kamran asked the chairman for setting up a parliamentary committee or giving a ruling on the matter, saying that beyond political statements, no practical steps have been taken by the government in this regard.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.