MULTAN: PTI vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced his party’s rejection of a three-member committee formed by the Punjab government to probe into the Qasim Bagh tragedy which left seven people dead.
Speaking exclusively to Express News about the incident, Qureshi voiced his contempt towards the government in regard to the formation of the committee.
“This is all just drama from the government. Yesterday they said this incident was an accident, but today they have formed a committee.”
In response to a question about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan not being present at the venue and funerals on Saturday, Qureshi said, “He will be coming [to Multan] tomorrow, and he will visit the deceased workers’ houses.”
Further, responding to former PTI president Javed Hashmi’s statement about the party wanting an opportunity to politicise deaths, Qureshi said, “His accusations are part of his election campaign which he is busy with. And anyway, why would we want our supporters, who love us, to die?”
Punjab govt forms three-member committee to probe incident
The Punjab government on Saturday formed a three-member committee to probe into the Qasim Bagh tragedy , Express News reported.
At least seven people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a stampede at the Ibne Qasim Bagh Stadium minutes after the PTI rally concluded on October 10. The commotion had started when power supply to the families’ section went off and they moved towards the gate reserved for youngsters.
Secretary for environment Iqbal Muhammad Chauhan, DIG Ali Amir and Special Secretary interior Dr Shoaib Akbar are the three members of the committee, which has been directed to present a report to the provincial chief minister in the next two to three days.
Qureshi blames DCO Multan
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while addressing a press conference in Multan, blamed DCO Multan Zahid Saleem Gondal for the stampede at the party’s rally in the city.
He said that Gondal was hiding facts by giving wrong statements.
Qureshi added that the administration put PTI chairperson Imran Khan’s life in danger.
Express News screengrab of Shah Mehmood Qureshi addressing the press conference in Multan.
The PTI vice chairperson stated that the tragedy was not accidental, it was a planned conspiracy by the administration, adding that it showed the administration’s negligence.
He revealed that he told CPO a day before the rally that Gondal was making the atmosphere in the city bad.
Qureshi also said that all the deaths were because of suffocation not because of torture.
He also said that Imran will come to Multan tomorrow (October 12) and reveal the compensation package.
Earlier today, while speaking to Express News, Qureshi reportedly said that justice cannot prevail in the presence of DCO Multan, adding that he does not expect justice from the chief minister’s investigation team.
Just two exit gates of the stadium were open, one for women and the other for young party activists and the general public, at the time of the tragedy, Express News reported.
PTI has said that two exit gates were open, however, DCO Multan has said that five gates were open.
Two of the gates were permanently closed with bricks while one was locked.
The event management company, which was given the contract to organise the rally by PTI, removed the ladder to get on stage.
The control of electricity inside the gathering was given to the event management company while electricity outside the gathering was the responsibility of the district administration’s contractor.
DCO Multan has said that PTI was responsible for security inside the gathering, adding that “our task was to provide security outside it”.
An initial report on the tragedy has been registered at Lohari Gate Police Station.
SHO Lohari Gate declared the incident as a matter of accident.
The report has confirmed the death of seven people.
Funeral prayers of two of the deceased have been offered. Former PTI president Javed Hashmi and the PTI vice chairperson also attended the funeral.
Express News screengrab of the funeral.
It was also reported that Hashmi’s car was stopped briefly by the local administration when he was leaving after the attending the funeral.
“PTI wants the opportunity to politicise deaths,” Hashmi said later while addressing the media.