Govt confirms deaths of 35 Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj 2024

PM expresses grief, directs arrangements be made to transport bodies of the deceased pilgrims to Pakistan


News Desk June 20, 2024
One million pilgrims from across the globe amassed on Thursday in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform the initial rites of the Hajj. PHOTO: AFP

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has confirmed the deaths of 35 Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj 2024. The bereaved families can choose to have the deceased buried either in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan.

According to Abdul Wahab Soomro, Director General of the Hajj Mission, by 4pm on June 18, nine Pakistani pilgrims had died in the holy sites: four in Mina, three in Arafat, and two in Muzdalifah. He further reported that 20 Pakistani pilgrims died in Makkah and six in Madina.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Religious Affairs stated that the extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius, made this Hajj particularly challenging.

He dismissed social media allegations of abandoning pilgrims as baseless, emphasising their reliance on information provided by the Saudi authorities, which they subsequently verify.

The spokesperson explained that they are notified of any pilgrim's death. The Saudi government has a system in place where they seek formal consent from the families for burial. The body is then washed, and funeral prayers are offered in the holy sites before burial, or arrangements are made to transport the body to Pakistan as per the family's wishes.

Also read: Most pilgrims who died during Hajj lacked official permits

The Ministry of Religious Affairs also noted the cooperation of the Saudi government in these matters.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed sorrow over the deaths of pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

According to a statement issued by the PM Office, the prime minister prayed for patience and strength for the bereaved families of the deceased pilgrims.

Prime Minister Shehbaz contacted Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Chaudhry Salik Hussain, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ahmed Farooq, regarding the current situation of the pilgrims in Makkah.

The prime minister directed that arrangements be made to transport the bodies of the deceased pilgrims to Pakistan.

He instructed the Ministry of Religious Affairs and officials at the Pakistani Embassy to provide all necessary facilities to the pilgrims. He also directed that all medical facilities be ensured for the pilgrims admitted to hospitals.

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