No sign: Pilgrims from Mina stampede remain missing

Family members wait for govt to help them find loved ones

Our Correspondent/riaz Ahmad September 28, 2015
Saleh Muhammad, Iqbal Nasir, Nausheen Iqbal, Zahida and Khairullah. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR/ SHANGLA: Several Hajj pilgrims belonging to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are still missing after the tragic stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia. A woman from Lakki Marwat and a man from the provincial capital have been identified as two of hundreds who lost their lives in the incident.

From Peshawar, Hazar Khwani resident Saleh Muhammad is among those for whom the search is still on. At the same time, there is no word on Khairullah and his wife, both residents of Dir Colony. Forest Colony inhabitants Nasir Iqbal and his wife are also among the missing.

Wisal Khan, the brother-in-law of Saleh Muhammad, told The Express Tribune the missing man is a 61-year-old retired Pakistan Railways policeman. “After collecting his pension, Saleh decided to perform Hajj along with his wife,” Wisal says. He adds the wife was found safe after the stampede. However, Saleh, a father of five, remains missing. “Saleh’s wife Yasmin Bibi told us they were separated in the stampede,” he says. “She never saw him again.”

Similarly, Khairullah’s son, Ikramullah, says his father and mother Zahida Bibi are also missing.

Khairullah is 50 years old while Zahida Bibi is 48. The private Hajj facilitator of their group tells Khairullah’s family that the couple is nowhere to be found – not among the dead or the injured. “We are really worried and there is no word from the government on the issue,” he adds.

Iqbal is also still missing along with his wife. He hails from Bannu but resides in Forest Colony, Peshawar.

Sher Afzal, 54, from Ittehad Colony, went for Hajj with his wife Yasmin. He died in the stampede while Yasmin survived.

Not just Peshawar

There are also a number of people missing from other districts of K-P.

Aloch resident and a doctor at DHQ Hospital Shangla, Poran Haider Ali, has been missing since the stampede. His uncle, Muhammad Wazir, told The Express Tribune Haider Ali left for Hajj with seven others. He says they spoke to the doctor on the phone around 20 minutes before the incident. He adds the phone was unattended for several hours after the stampede until a woman picked it up and told the family that Haider Ali was at hospital. Wazir says they have tried to locate him at all the hospitals, but he remains missing.

Zahira Bibi, a resident of Wari in Upper Dir, went for Hajj with her son Altaf. He is among those who were injured in the stampede.

Altaf says his mother has been lost since the incident and he is unable to find her despite searching everywhere.

A woman from Lakki Marwat lost her life while another remains missing. Master Nizamuddin, a resident of Minakhel Mohallah in Lakki Marwat, says his wife Akhtar Nisa was killed in the mayhem.

On the other hand, Jan Begum, 60, a resident of Machankhel Mohallah went for Hajj with her son Yaqoob, 30. Yaqoob says he was injured but his mother went missing. He adds he was unable to find his mother’s name on the list of the injured or the deceased.

Asif, a pilgrim from Ziarat in Utmankhel, Bajaur Agency, is another one of whom there is no trace. His father says Asif left for Hajj and there has been no contact with him since.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2015.



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