Up to 30 pilgrims participating in the three-day celebrations for Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s 759th Urs have died.
Twenty-one people succumbed to the extreme heat while eight people drowned in the nearby Ural Wah canal. One unlucky visitor was crushed by a train.
Many people were robbed of their cash and mobile phones in the crowded shrine. Water shortages were also a big problem during the urs. The locals reportedly sold polluted water from the canal to the visitors.
To add to their woes, transporters doubled and tripled their fares and even struck the jackpot as thousands of people clamoured after public transport while trying to return home after the celebrations.
The Edhi centre buried 12 people while the rest have been returned to the families.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2011.