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Sunday July 21, 2024

35 Pakistani pilgrims die during Hajj 2024

More than 900 pilgrims lose their lives during this year's Hajj with many fatalities attributed to heat exhaustion

By Azaz Syed
June 20, 2024
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as they perform Tawaf at the Grand Mosque, during the annual haj pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 18, 2024. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as they perform Tawaf at the Grand Mosque, during the annual haj pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 18, 2024. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Federal Ministry of Religious Affairs on Thursday confirmed the deaths of as many as 35 Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj 2024 due to extreme heat.

As reported by the AFP, more than 900 pilgrims lost their lives during this year's Hajj with many fatalities attributed to heat exhaustion caused by soaring temperatures.

Other than Pakistan, several other countries namely Egypt, India, Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia and Iraq have also reported deaths of their citizens.

Director General of Pakistan's Haj Mission Abdul Wahab Soomro said that as of 4pm on June 18, a total of 35 Pakistani deaths had been reported — 20 in Makkah, six in Madina, four in Mina, three in Arafat, and two in Muzdalifah.

"Due to a temperature of 50°C, this was a tough Hajj," the official said.

Soomro also dismissed social media claims of leaving the pilgrims "helpless". "We trust the Saudi government's information and we confirm it ourselves as well, whenever there's a death. We are informed."

Meanwhile, the ministry added that under the Saudi government's rules, they seek permission from the heirs of the family for burial.

"After bathing [the body], funeral prayers are offered here and burial takes place in Saudi Arabia." In case the family wants the body back, it said, arrangements are made to send it to Pakistan.

Media reports suggest that friends and family of missing Hajj pilgrims are searching hospitals and pleading online for news, fearing the worst.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims with the means must complete it at least once.

Its timing is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, shifting forward each year in the Gregorian calendar.

For the past several years the mainly outdoor rituals have fallen during the sweltering Saudi summer.