Saturday, December 22, 2007

56 Pakistan Pilgrims Die of Natural Causes

Friday, 21 December 2007
By Abdullah Al-Hariri and Adel Al-Malki

Saudi Gazette

MINA - Some 56 Pakistani pilgrims have died here and in Makkah from mid-November up to Tuesday, according to Tariq Masoud, supervisor of Pakistan Haj Mission.

A pilgrim in Mina and another in Arafat died while performing the Haj rituals, he said.
Shiekh Sanaullah, 10, was the youngest pilgrim who died in Makkah two weeks ago. Most of the deaths were registered among old pilgrims. The bodies were buried in Al-Ma'la cemetery near the Grand Mosque.
The Pakistan government has set up a center in Mina to oversee the arrangements related to Pakistani pilgrims.
The center has 20 staff members, including some from the medical field. It also has people to guide lost pilgrims and receive complaints.
Zahid Mahmoud, the assistant director of the center, said that they have received some 500 complaints about bad services.
He said all the complaints are studied before being forwarded to the Ministry of Haj that had already closed down some Haj offices that were sued by the Pakistani mission.
"The Ministry of Haj not only takes our complaints seriously, but acts on them," Zahid said.
Mohammad Hanif, 55, is one from a group of Pakistani pilgrims who has complained of bad service of office No. 48 located at the end of Mina.
Hanif said that they were forced to walk all the way to Arafat when the bus that was scheduled to take them there, did not come.
"We are also forced to buy drinking water from shops around the camp since there's no water in the camp," he said.

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