Police blame PTI for deaths in Multan rally stampede

Published October 11, 2014
Photo shows a stampede victim at a hospital following the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) rally in Multan on October 10, 2014.—AFP photo
Photo shows a stampede victim at a hospital following the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) rally in Multan on October 10, 2014.—AFP photo

ISLAMABAD: Multan police have held the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) responsible for the death of at least seven people in a stampede following a PTI rally in the city on Saturday.

The otherwise impressive public meeting at Multan’s Qasim Bagh stadium turned into a tragedy when a large number of people tried to cross one of the exit gates in one go after PTI Chairman Imran Khan left the venue. In the process several people fell on the ground and were trampled by others, leaving seven people dead and 43 injured.

In an initial investigation report sent to the Prime Minister House here today, Multan police claim the PTI paid no attention to the situation even after a police officer present on the stage informed PTI senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi about it.

Also read: PTI’s public meeting turns into tragedy

The report also claims that the people responsible for the administration were told several times to make announcements for emergency help, but to no avail.

“Soon after the public meeting, people started moving out of the venue and due to congestion two persons died on the spot,” says the report.

The report says there were only five exit gates which were not enough for such a large gathering of people.

A number of people also slipped and suffered injuries due to water on the ground, it claims.

The police say 200 policemen were posted at the venue and the arrangements were finalised by the PTI just a night before the event.

The report has been jointly sent by the CCPO and the deputy commissioner in Multan.

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi has termed the report a pack of lies.

Following the incident Saturday evening, the PTI blamed the police and the local administration for the loss of lives, alleging that most of the gates were kept locked and lights switched off early.

PTI chairman Imran Khan expressed grief over the deaths and urged Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to order an investigation to fix responsibility.

The Punjab government has formed a three-member committee to investigate the incident.

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