HR commission rejects ministry’s report over Mina tragedy
ISLAMABAD: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has rejected a report of the religious affairs ministry about the stampede that took place in Mina, Saudi Arabia, last year during Haj and which claimed lives of hundreds of pilgrims.
An official of the commission said it had sought a report from the ministry following receipt of public complaints that it had failed to take timely measures because of which pilgrims and their families had to suffer hardship.
He said the ministry’s director general for Haj and its joint secretary for Haj responded to the complaints by saying the first incident of its kind had turned out to be an eye-opener for them. In future the ministry would make proper arrangements to deal effectively with such incidents.
The NCHR official said the representatives of the ministry claimed that they did not have the record of four Pakistanis who died during the stampede because the deceased had been working in Saudi Arabia.
According to an official statement, the bench of the commission comprises Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, who is its chairman, and Chaudhry Mohammad Shafiq, Dr Yahya Ahmed and Ishaq Masih Naz.
The officials informed the bench that the Saudi government was investigating the matter and the government of Pakistan was preparing recommendations to be handed over to Saudi Arabia.
The commission was informed that a comprehensive strategy was being formulated to address emergency situations and ensure safety and protection of Pakistani pilgrims.
The NCHR termed the ministry’s report “insufficient” and directed the joint secretary and other officials to appear before it for further clarifications.
It also instructed the ministry to submit agreements signed with the Saudi government on Haj, details of residential and transportation facilities provided to the pilgrims, data about Khuddamul Hujjaj and the procedure for selection of trainers.