The stampede at the Alhamra Cultural complex, Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, that led to the death of three girl students of a well known college and badly injured over 15 others, would not have occurred if the college administration and the complex management had carried out the event properly. It must be condemned severely because all over the country generally it has been observed that colleges and schools tend to demonstrate insufficient preparation in managing such cultural trips and events. The recent one is Kalar Kahar tragedy.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has ordered an inquiry, which is good but this time around it is expected that exemplary punishment should be given to those who are responsible for dereliction of duty that led to the waste of precious lives. There are different versions of what happened including the eyewitnesses account; yet all of them have certain common points. DIG Police, Operations, told the media that there were 7,000 students against a capacity of 5,000. Even when the concert was halfway through some students began to feel suffocated and when their parents waiting outside tried to reach out to them, the event managers simply refused to cooperate. Things got out of control when the event ended and when some of the students bolted towards Atif Aslam for autograph while he was leaving. The security guards responded by baton-charging the girls, which caused a commotion. However, eye-witnesses also revealed that when the main gate was opened, a number of eve-teasers who had gathered outside tried to rush inside and one of them shouted that there was a bomb inside the theatre. The absence of lights at the exit gate complicated things and students fell and got crushed in the stampede.

These are all aspects that need to be thoroughly investigated. The complex managers could have averted the tragedy by keeping non-ticket holders a suitable distance away. The theatre was overcrowded by greedy ticket sellers, desperate to make a quick buck.

Inside the theatre the guards who baton-charged the girls must also be grilled. The college administration’s fault is that all these preparations, or lack thereof, occurred under its watch. Heads must roll to prevent such tragedies in future.