SUKKUR: Five women and a boy were killed in a stampede on the first day of Eid as they tried to catch a glimpse of their spiritual leader Pir Sahib Pagara at the Dargah Rashdia in Pir jo Goth.
Thousands of followers, including children, have been gathering at the Dargah Rashdia for decades as it is customary for the Pir Sahib to make a public appearance (Deedar-e-Aam) on occasions such as Eid.
According to the in charge at the Dargah, Faqir Jan Muhammad Mangrio, around 0.5 million devotees of Pir Pagara visit the shrine on Eid.
On August 20, the first day of Eidul Fitr, men and women waited in separate sections of the Dargah for the Pir Sahib to appear in the balcony. According to reports, when the management opened the doors, people rushed inside and some fell on the ground.
As chaos unfolded, the management called the district administration to send a team of doctors and ambulance at the Dargah but five women, Zaibun Nisa, Almi Khatoon, Naseeran, Safia and Zarina, and ten-year-old Hakim reportedly died on the spot before help arrived.
Ghulam Nabi Mahar, the Dargah Rashdia’s spokesperson, confirmed six deaths on the first day of Eid. While talking to The Express Tribune, he said that a request was sent to the district administration to establish a medical camp and provide ambulances for emergencies, but nothing was done. “When we called the administration for medical aid, we were told that doctors were unavailable due to Eid holidays and ambulances were busy in VIP duty.” He added that even the rural health centre in Pir jo Goth, where they were asked to send the patients, had no doctors. “The administration usually arranges medical camps and provides ambulances on such events, but we don’t know why this time nothing was done.” Pir Sahib Pagara is known to make public appearances four times in a year - Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha, 27th Rajab and 12th Rabiul Awwal.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2012.