The Mina tragedy continues to haunt us, as Pakistani families still await the news of the bodies of their loved ones lost this Haj to the stampede. According to official estimates given by Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, 87 Pakistanis have so far been killed in the stampede in Mina while 60 people are still missing. The families of those missing are still at a loss to locate the deceased. They say that the Saudi state apparatus has been insensitive in handling the situation. People are afraid of their relatives being buried in Saudi Arabia without their prior approval or proper identification process. Through most reports suggest that the Saudi authorities are not doing much to help allay fears, there are some reports that reveal that they have issued death certificates for victims and identified many victims. Over all, the situation is a blur and victims do not know what procedures to follow or who to talk to.

A resolution was moved by the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, demanding that the government step up efforts for missing Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia and lodge an official protest with the Saudi government. The resolution was opposed on grounds of the situation being a matter of foreign policy, one that the provincial assembly did not have jurisdiction over. Additionally, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the resolution should be amended to avoid blaming the Saudi government. Rasheed argued that nothing in the resolution was objectionable. “The bodies have not been returned to the families. The matter cannot be taken lightly.”

Identification of bodies should have been the first priority of the Saudi government. Instead, social media was flooded with distasteful images of bodies being picked and moved by heavy duty vehicles, inspiring only panic in the general population. It was only the deep held respect that Pakistanis have for the Kingdom that kept criticism and outrage in control. If there had been so many deaths and so many bodies missing in any other country, the situation would have been different.