LAHORE: Three girls were killed and five others injured when a stampede took place during a musical concert for students at the Alhamra Cultural Complex on Monday night.
A large number of students fell unconscious. The concert by prominent singer Atif Aslam was organised by a well-known private college.
The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif ordered an inquiry into the incident.
DIG Operations Ghulam Mahmood Dogar told Dawn that there were around 7,000 students in the hall with a capacity for 4,000.
He said that preliminary investigation showed that a group of girls had rushed to take autograph of Atif when he was leaving at the end of the concert.
He said the concert started late and stretched beyond its scheduled time.
Parents, who had come to pick their wards, were making calls on students' cellphones, asking them to come out early.
Because of the rush, the college management had asked the complex administration not to open the main gate because students would use the single exit and that triggered panic among the students.
'The girls, who were trying to approach Atif, started pushing each other and some security guards used batons to keep them away from the singer,' he said, adding that the girls ran towards the exit gate which apparently led to the stampede.
A private TV channel, however, reported that the stampede was caused by rumours about a bomb. Shoes and other belongings of students were found scattered over the place.
Two of the dead girls were identified as Maheen Naseem, 17, of Walton Road and Farah Nawaz of Canal View. The injured, Wajiha, Safeera, Nimra, Zoya and Muneeba, were admitted to surgical and medical wards of Services Hospital.
A hospital official said that three of the girls had arrived dead and five others were under treatment with light to moderate injuries.
She said that two of the injured were discharged after treatment and the condition of three others was stable.
The dead bodies and injured were shifted to Services Hospital.
The Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and ordered an inquiry.