Official: 18 Pakistanis killed in crush of hajj pilgrims

AP News
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Posted: Sep 27, 2015 6:44 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A top Pakistani hajj official in Saudi Arabia on Sunday confirmed the death of 18 Pakistanis who were crushed in a stampede during the annual religious pilgrimage.

The official, Abu Ahmed Akif, said at least 20 Pakistani pilgrims were also injured in Thursday's tragedy near the holy city of Mecca; at least 769 people died in the incident.

Akif told The Associated Press that they were still tracking down many pilgrims who remained missing, but did not say how many were missing.

Confusion has persisted about exact death toll among Pakistanis in Thursday's incident, with the family of some pilgrims saying they were unable to contact their relatives. That confusion has fueled rumors that the actual death toll was much higher than reported.

On Sunday, the Pakistani ambassador in Saudi Arabia dismissed rumors that as many as 200 Pakistanis had died.

"There is no truth in these reports," Manzoor ul Haq told state-run Pakistan Television.