Pakistan

Pakistan hides the true number of Hajj victims; religious leader urges govt to publish real death toll

A senior Pakistani religious leader called on Islamabad to declare the real number of the Pakistani Hajj pilgrims killed during the stampede in Mina, Mecca, on Thursday.

“The secrecy concerning the true number of the victims of Mina incident does not solve anything and would make the situation even more complicated; therefore the Pakistani government should announce the exact number of the Pakistani pilgrims killed in Hajj rituals in Mina,” Sahibzada Abu-al-Khair Muhammad Zubair, President of Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), told FNA on Monday.

Muhammad Zubair voiced regret over the prevailing situation in Mecca, and said, “This is very regretting that Hajj pilgrims have lost their lives for the presence of a Saudi royal family member; if this is true. The Saudi royal family is the assassin that has killed the Hajj pilgrims.”

He called on the Muslim countries to take charge of the management of Hajj rituals by forming a joint commission as irresponsibility of the Saudi rulers in this regard is evident to everyone.

“The Saudi government is engaged in the wars in Yemen, Syria and Iraq and for the same reason it does not pay attention to Hajj affairs,” Muhammad Zubair added.

A stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season killed more than 4,000 people and left 2,000 wounded on Thursday.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as “stoning the devil” in the tent city of Mina, about two miles from Mecca.

At least 239 Iranians have also lost their lives in the incident, while 150 others have been wounded.

Families of the Pakistani victims and the missing Hajj pilgrims of the tragic incident of Mina, Mecca, gathered in front of the country’s major airports, including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to show their protest at Islamabad’s poor performance in dealing with the disaster.

The Pakistani protesters called on Islamabad to state true figures when announcing the death toll among the country’s pilgrims killed during the stampede in Mina on Thursday.

A victim’s family member said that Pakistani officials should take action to specify the real number of the victims and show honesty in this regard.

The Pakistani government has not provided the real death toll of its Hajj pilgrims killed in the Mina incident.

A stampede during one of the last rituals of the Hajj season killed more than 4,000 people and left 2,000 wounded.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as “stoning the devil” in the tent city of Mina, about two miles from Mecca.

Pakistan is among those nations who have lost the largest number of nationals in the Thursday stampede, and Islamabad’s leniency towards Saudi Arabia over the Mina crush has angered the Pakistani people.

Reports from Pakistani media and journalists on Monday revealed that the country’s intelligence body, ISI, has issued serious warnings to all the country’s media outlets to avoid conducting interviews with pilgrims and their families about the lethal incidents in Mecca this year or releasing figures of those who have lost their lives or gone missing in the stampede.

A Pakistani citizen has also filed a complaint against the Islamabad government for not declaring true figures of the Pakistani nationals who have died or gone missing in the Thursday stampede in Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Mahmoud Akhtar Naghavi has sued 14 senior Pakistani officials, including prime minister and religious affairs minister, for not providing accurate information on the number of the Pakistanis killed in Mina, the Urdu-language Express newspaper reported on Monday.

“The (Pakistani) government is duty-bound to publish a list of the names and the real number of the victims and the missing Hajj pilgrims in order to remove concerns among the families of the pilgrims,” the daily quoted Naghavi as saying.

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