Hajj stampede: 18 Pakistanis among 769 pilgrims killed in Mecca

At least 18 Pakistani nationals were among 769 pilgrims killed in last week’s horrific stampede during Hajj, the worst incident in 25 years to strike the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, officials said on Sunday.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs in a statement issued names of 18 pilgrims so far confirmed dead in the stampede, amid fears that the toll may rise. However, Geo TV reported that the toll had reached 23.

There were also reports of about 300 Pakistani pilgrims missing as their relatives are unable to reach them.

“We are trying to find the missing persons,” said Manzoor Ahmad, Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Some of the relatives blamed government for failure to respond to the queries about the fate of the pilgrims who have lost contact with their families.

“Nobody is helping us as both ministry of religious affairs and foreign ministry are not responding to our calls,” a relative said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, currently in New York to attend the annual UN meeting, asked officials to do everything to help the families whose relatives were still missing.