MAKKAH: At least 19 Pakistani pilgrims have been confirmed dead while 20 are reported injured after a stampede which killed more than 700 in Mina outside the holy city of Makkah on Thursday.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs had earlier confirmed the deaths of 18 pilgrims, while another pilgrim Sher Afzal Khan was confirmed dead by family members.
Nasir Khan, brother of the deceased, told DawnNews that Sher Afzal, who was a resident of Peshawar's Dalazak Road, had been killed during the fatal stampede in Mina.
According to a list published by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the deceased persons include Hafsa Shoaib, Zarin Naseem, Syeda Narjis Shahnaz, Bibi Zainab, Mahmood Arshad, Rasheedan Bibi, Zahid Gul, Dr. Ameer Ali Lashari and Makhdoomzada Syed Asad Murtaza Gillani, Abdul Rehman, Shehnaz Qamar, Islam Ahmad, Bushra Bibi, Muhammad Hasrat, Azeem Khan, Muhammad Idrees, Aamir Muhammad Malook and Gul Shahnaz.
Of the 20 Pakistani pilgrims who were injured during the tragedy, 12 have been discharged from hospitals, while the remaining eight are receiving medical aid in Mina ul Wadi Hospital, Mina Dispensary No. 5 or King Abdullah Hospital Jeddah.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the Foreign Office and Director General Haj to double their efforts for finding missing pilgrims and re-uniting them with their respective families.
Pakistanis wishing to inquire about their loved ones are advised to call emergency helpline numbers 00966125458000 and 0096612527753.
Moreover the Foreign Office has also rejected claims made by Britain's Guardian newspaper that 236 Pakistanis were killed in the fatal crush.
At least 769 pilgrims were killed while 934 were injured on Thursday in a stampede at Mina where some two million people performed Haj.
It is the worst disaster to strike the annual pilgrimage in 25 years.
The tragedy occurred when two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads on their way to performing the symbolic stoning of the devil, the Saudi civil defence directorate said.
Soon after the incident, Saudi King Salman had said that he had ordered a review of the kingdom's plans for the annual Haj pilgrimage.
King Salman, speaking in a live speech broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television, said he had asked for a swift investigation into what he described as a painful incident.
— with additional reporting from Ali Akbar