Abdullah Zafar, Muhammad Irtaza and Nadir Buneri
KARACHI/MULTAN/PESHAWAR - It is almost two weeks since the stampede during Haj caused deaths of hundreds of pilgrims. The tragedy did not end with the stampede. What came afterwards was a chaotic situation especially for Pakistanis.
According to official estimates given by Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, 87 Pakistanis zhave so far been killed in the stampede in Mina while 60 people are still missing.
The families of those missing are still in agony on how to find them when the state apparatus is not working properly. The Nation collected reports from its correspondents across Pakistan to explain the situation wherein there have surfaced news of extreme non-cooperation by the Pakistani and Saudi authorities. Some of them whose loved ones have been martyred during the incident also expressed fear of their relatives being buried in the Saudi Arabia without their prior approval or proper identification process.
Information provided by the Ministry Of Religious Affairs revealed that out of the 96 confirmed deaths, 39 people have been buried at Moasim Graveyard and only body that was of Makhdumzada Syed Asad Murtaza Gilani, who was the son of Makhdum Syed Wajahat Hussain Gilani and nephew of former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, was brought back to the country and later buried in Multan. The 47 other people whose deaths are confirmed are still in the phase of confirmation of their identities.
The official list also included five Haj pilgrims from Karachi who went missing namely Rana Fareed wife of Muhammad Iftikhar, Taj Mina wife of Yamoo Din, Kousar Rabia wife of Sultan Muhammad, Syed Qaiser Ahsan son of Syed Anwar Ahsan and Iftikhar Ahmad.
Dr Tabinda Mobeen, a resident of Karachi, is also among Pakistanis who are still missing but not named in the official missing list and her family along with her husband Hussain Ahmed and two daughters who reached Jeddah are still unable to find any clue about her.
Friend of one of the daughters Maimona Khalid said Dr Tabinda went missing during the stampede. The family searched her at different hospitals and morgues but was unable to find her.
“The family has now moved to Jeddah and they fear that they would have to return the country after the expiry of their visas without getting any information regarding Dr Tabinda,” she said.
She lambasted the Saudi government for not cooperating enough with the families . “We are in a state of deep sorrow and confusion and are praying for her safe recovery,” she said.
In another case, Zartaj Ahmed whose one family member was still missing while three have been declared dead was in despair. He said they found information of the death of their three family members Yamud din, Mir Zaman Khan and Bakht Janan through a list at old Haji Camp at Nursery. No government official informed them regarding the process to bring back their bodies.
“Neither we were approached to identify them nor any information was conveyed regarding one of the missing member of the family Taj Mena”, he said.
“Both the missing families had 13 children altogether and they want the bodies of their parents to be brought back in the country for burial. The government had announced to take family members of the martyred pilgrims to the Saudi Arabia for identification process. Nobody has contacted us in this regard as yet,” Ahmed said.
Zafar Husain plans to hold a press conference at Karachi Press Club along with an injured haj pilgrim, Shoaib Shahid. “We have learnt through a list of martyred pilgrims issued by the government that wife and daughter of Shoaib have embraced martyrdom. Bodies were buried without proper identification by the family. Reportedly the identification process was done through the finger prints.
MULTAN
At least four residents of Multan namely Syed Asad Murtaza Gilani, a former federal parliamentary secretary and nephew of ex-prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Noor Muhammad, his wife Aziz Mai and a seven years old girl Samreen Bibi went missing in Mina stampede. The body of Syed Asad Murtaza Gilani was brought back to Pakistan and he was laid to rest in the premises of Shrine of Hazrat Moosa Pak in Multan. Sources close to Gilani family told The Nation that the body of Asad was sent back to Pakistan on Yousaf Raza Gilani’s special request to Saudi government. Later on, Saudi ambassador to Pakistan also telephoned the former premier and condoled with him the demise of his nephew.
Samreen Bibi was buried in Makkah in presence of her parents. Both her father, who is stated to be a taxi driver in Saudia, and mother got injured in the stampede and are still in Saudi Arabia. Aziz Mai was also buried in Makkah while her husband Noor Muhammad is still missing.
Noor Muhammad’s son Qamar said despite hectic efforts made by his uncle, who lives in Saudi Arabia, his father could not be traced so far. When asked whether Pakistani or Saudi officials extended any support for locating his father, he said authorities from both sides somewhat cooperated with his uncle. “My uncle tells me that he daily goes to hospitals and dead houses in search of my father and finds officials from Pakistan haj mission and consulate making efforts for the recovery of Pakistani pilgrims. The Saudis are also extending support,” he Qamar. He said the documentation like death certificate of his mother had been prepared by the Saudi authorities. When asked whether he received any invitation from Saudi government to go to Makkah and look for his father, he said he did not receive any invitation. “Even if I go to Saudi Arabia, it is of no use. I don’t know Arabic language and no one who does not speak Arabic is allowed to check at information counters,” Qamar said.
PESHAWAR
Six of the pilgrims belonged to Peshawar are feared dead. Two have been confirmed dead and buried in Saudi Arabia. Those who are confirmed dead and buried are: Khair Ullah Khawas Khan, passport No EJ4134561 of Peshawar. He was identified by the head of Pakistan haj medical mission. He was buried in Al-Moasim Graveyard.
His wife Zahida Khair Ullah, passport No EU5173931, is also confirmed dead. The couple was resident of Peshawar. She was also buried in Al-Moasm Graveyard.
The four missing persons of Peshawar are Saleh Muhammad son of Ahmad Khan, passport No CU0161681, Muhammad Umar son of Muhammad Akbar, resident of Peshawar with passport No AD2223452.
Another Salawat Khan son of Abdul Latif of Peshawar with passport No AK9851002 is also among the missing persons of Mina tragedy.
Shah Wali Ullah son of Sher Ali Khan a resident of Peshawar with passport No AN6791952 was on a visit visa to the KSA. He went for performing haj and has been missing since Mina tragedy.
It is yet to be confirmed that whether all the four persons are alive or dead. However, the government response is very poor and the families have been running from pillar to post to locate their loved ones.
Staff Reporters add
JHANG: According to reliable sources only one haji of Jhang embraced martyrdom. 50-year-old Siraj Din Siraj, his wife and his brother-in-law, residents of Jhang City Ward.No-8, went to perform haj but haji Siraj Din was killed in Mina mishap. His wife and brother-in-law identified his dead body. He was buried there in Makkah. Martyr Siraj Din Siraj was working as a deputy director in a federal department in Islamabad. The deceased had two sons and two daughters.
KHYBER AGENCY
A resident of tehsil Landikotal embraced martyrdom in stampede. Fazal Akbar said his cousin, Lalcha Gul s/o Majeed Gul, aged 27, from Zakha Khel Tribe and resident of Karamna, a remote area of tehsil Landikotal died.
Fazal said relatives were informed by the villagers accompanying with him during haj. He received serious injuries and died in hospital.
Father of the deceased faxed power of attorney to the villagers to have him buried in Saudi Arabia,” Fazal said. The relatives of the deceased said no official has so far contacted them regarding any financial assistance to the family. The martyr has left behind three daughters, a son and a widow.
GUJRAT
A couple belonged to village Karrianwala, Mauza Bhorujpur also embraced martyrdom. According to the family, the couple was buried in Saudi Arabia after their consent. They said that they came to know about the martyrdom of Asghar Ali, 60, and his wife Parveen Bibi on the third day of Eidul Azha.
BANNU
Late Muhammad Riaz had gone to perform haj and was missing after the Mina incident. He was found under treatment at a Saudi hospital but later he succumbed to his injuries and was buried in the holy land. Nasir Iqbal of Tehsil Domel and Gul Muhammad of Tughal Khel, Bannu also died at Mina .
SAWABI
Two pilgrims belonging to district Sawabi have been confirmed dead. Muhammad Nazir was resident of Musa Khail, Mohallah Topi city. He was employed in Saudi Arabia and had joined the pilgrims there.
Another man Hassan Ameen, resident of Kotha village, situated some 8-km west of Topi City was killed. Hassan’s father Fazal Ameen and Nazir’s brother Muhammad Iqbal said their beloved were buried in Saudia Arabia with their consent. They said the government’s apathy added to the woes of the bereaved families .
KHANEWAL
A couple of Khanewal embraced martyrdom in Mina . Abdul Rehman was working as CS supervisor in Kot Addu Power Company (Kepco) since 1984. His son Kamran Rehman is also working as contractual employee of third party providing service to the Kepco. Kmaran said his father Abdul Rehman aged 58 and mother Shahnaz Qamar aged 54, his other two colleagues Nau Bahar Shah and Meer Qadam Khan along with their spouses (group of six persons) went for haj. “When this incident happened I called on cell number of father but it was not responding. I called group members but they were not able to confirm their whereabouts. After two days, Mian Haider, a representative of company confirmed that my father and mother were among died. I called group members to go and confirm the deaths. When they confirmed, we granted permission for funeral and both were laid to rest in Mina graveyard,” he said.
Kamran said DCO Muzaffargarh Hafiz Shaukat once visited to condole with the family. After that no one from government side contacted us for compensation or condolence. “My family wants to see the graves of our beloved and waiting for response from Pakistani as well as Saudi government.
MARDAN
Two people were martyred and one went missing and another got injured in Mina tragedy, sources said. Twenty-three-year-old Abdul Malik of Miraj Colony Takhtbhai and Amber Shah of Rurya Jadid were martyred and buried in Mina .
Abdus Samad of Janabad Nisata Road, an employee at district police office Mardan is missing while his cousin Mohammad Israr got injured and is under treatment at hospital.
MIRPUR
Mrs. Syeda Narjis Shehnaz wife of Syed Amjad Mahmood, a resident of Fazil Chowk, Mirpur City and Mrs Khalida Begum wife of Rehmat Ullah, a resident of Bhumbher district, were martyred. Bodies of both are missing.
“Syeda Narjis Shehnaz died on the spot. Her son Syed Irtaza Haider was accompanying her and was injured,” said her brother Engr Syed Qaiser Shiraz Kazim. “We immediately contacted the Pakistan embassy officials and the Saudi authorities in Makkah about our consent for her burial,” Kazmi said.
Elaborating, Kazmi quoted the son as saying that the Saudi authorities had immediately lifted her body, along with other bodies and took them to an unknown destination. The injured Syed Irtaza Haider was rushed to a hospital.
Kazmi said concerned Pakistan embassy officials as well as the Saudi authorities are fully cooperating and assisting her son Irtaza Haider in the search for missing body. “They have also collected the DNA test in the wake of an intensive search of the missing body,” Kazmi said adding, that despite all untiring efforts so far, the missing body has not been recovered and received by her son Haider,” he said.
Similarly, the body of the other victim Mrs Kahlida Begum is also still missing. Her family sources were quoted by local journalist Bilal Aziz Noor as saying that the body of the martyred lady could not be recovered. Noor told The Nation that Mrs Khalida’s family has given consent for her burial in Saudi Arabia as soon as her body is found.
DASKA
The family of Qaisra Begum is in mourning. She embraced martyrdom in Mina . The family was also praying for early health recovery and life of their beloved father Arshad Khan who was seriously injured and is still under treatment in Makkah.
His elder son Rehan Khan, a teacher by profession, said his mother was very happy when she left for Saudi Arabia and her last wish was that she could die while performing haj.
He said he and his family was happy that the last wish of their mother regarding dying in Hijaz-e-Muqaddas was fulfilled by the Allah. He said she left Daska to nearby Sialkot International Airport for going to Saudi Arabia on Sep 11 and the news of her death came from their relatives in Saudi Arabia.
“We are missing our beloved mother every moment,” Rehan said with tear in his eyes.
He termed it a great and unforgettable tragedy, however, it fulfilled the last wish of their mother.
People in large number participated in the Quran Khawani held here in Daska for the eternal peace of the departed soul. They also offered Fateha for her.
Qaisra Begum has left behind three sons Rehan Khan, Jamshaid Khan and Imran Khan.
HAFIZABAD
Najma Mukhtar (48) widow of Mukhtar Ahmad Khan, who was missing has been confirmed dead and has been identified by her son Nisar Ahmad who was also injured in the stampede. She was laid to rest in the Jannat-ul-Shuhada Graveyard in Makkah.
She left behind four sons Nisar Ahmad Khan, Israr Ahmad Khan, Jamshed Ahmad Khan and Junaid Ahmad Khan and one daughter.
LAYYAH
Humaria bibi wife of Muhammad Aslam went to Saudi Arabia for haj but died due to pneumonia. She was buried there on the consent of her husband Muhammad Aslam.
Bashiran Bibi was injured in Mina stampede. She is under treatment at Medina Munwwara Hospital for treatment and is recovering.
SWAT
Two Swatian pilgrims have embraced martyrdom in stampede. The martyrs were also buried in Mina graveyard but without intimation to their relatives.
Deaths of pilgrim Sirajuddin, 60, resident of Guligram Saidu Sharif and Ihsanullah, 55, resident of Malookabad Mingora have been confirmed.
The relatives of the martyrs expressed their resentment over the Saudi government’s action of burial without their consent and intimation.
Relatives of Sirajuddin said that they remained in tension and stress for more than 10 days as they were unable to make any contact with him.
“After hectic efforts, we came to know that Siraj embraced martyrdom in Mina stampede and he had been buried in Mina graveyard”.
“To bury a martyred pilgrim in a simple way is against our traditions due to which our entire family is unhappy with this act of Saudi government,” he added.