Multan tragedy: fair probe only way to put an end to uncertainty

Shah Mhemood Qureshi, Vice Chairman PTI Saturday rejected initial police report that termed Multan’s tragic incident as a ‘coincidence. He blamed district administration for deaths of seven people during stampede at PTI rally arguing that venue of PTI rally was changed under a well-thought-out plan. Supporting his stance, he disclosed that ladder through which Imran Khan was supposed to use for reaching stage disappeared at the eleventh hour. He alleged police for forcing people to climb on the stage. Shah Mehmood said it was not a coincidence and the stampede exposed the incompetence of city administration and the DCO.

He kept insisting that local administration instead of providing security to the participants created several hurdles in a bid to sabotage the rally. The concerned police in its initial report forwarded to the IG Punjab, has termed the tragedy as a ‘coincidental accident’. Police has reportedly held PTI responsible for all the arrangements at rally venue. Nearly 2000 policemen were deployed in and around the stadium for security purpose. A meeting was held between the concern police and PTI’s leaders

Dr. Akhtar Malik, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Malik Aamir Dogar at the stage and police informed PTI leadership about the huge gathering of crowd around the stage, in and around the stadium. But the party leaders somehow failed to act on time as no announcement was made. When asked, policemen were told that Imran Khan was delivering speech at that time and they can not interrupt his speech. The report also clarified that water spray was used by the Fire Brigade Service to stop the huge crownd from leaving from the same gate from where a large number of people were standing and listening the speech of their leader. The report further said that PTI undertook the responsibility for arranging search &, security, arrangements for lights on the backside of the stage as well as in and outside of the pandal. After issuance of the NOC for the public meeting, all the necessary arrangements were made for hassle free conduct of Jalsa and the necessary directions were also issued to the departments concerned. The report also stated that five gates were in use where sufficient police force in uniform and plain clothes along with metal detectors were deployed. Besides walk-through gates were erected.

But PTI leaders are not buying the initial reports prepared by the police. They are holding DCO Multan and city administration directly responsible for the tragic incident. Had the policemen acted professionally, the stampede could not be occurred?, said PTI leader. He said he has already informed the police that electricity supply was cut down unexpectedly that created panic among the participants of the rally. They also accused police for not letting people enter the venue through all the five gates as they only left one door open and locked rest of the doors that resulted into the stampede.

The Friday’s tragedy has shocked the entire nation. It does not matter whether the persons who lost their precious lives belonged to PTI as these were all Pakistanis. Some vested quarters have again started politicizing the issue . The government is accusing the PTI while the party leveling serious accusations against the rulers.

The Qasim Bagh Stadium can only accommodate nearly 60,000 people while over 80 thousands activists of the PTI made their entry into the stadium from a single gate which was being screened by the policemen deployed at the gate for security purpose. The stadium has five gates while the concerned authorities opted to keep one door open while the other two gates were locked, reasons best known to those who were supposed to coordinate the security arrangements. While there were also reports that the commotion started when power supply went off and rally participants rushed towards the exit gates.

The Punjab government has constituted a three members committee to probe into the tragic incident which is likely to submit report shortly. Inquiry of the incident will be carried out by the appointed committee. Afterwards, a case will be registered against those responsible for the incident. According to the CPO Multan Sultan Gujjar, IG Punjab has only been apprised about the incident but no reason has been given yet. The tragic incident has occurred at a time when the by-election in NA-149 constituency is going to take place of has raised many questions that needed to be answered. Why the policemen let such a large number of crowds entered into the stadium from all the five gates? What made the city administration to shut down all the five gates but one? What were the reasons behind cutting down the power supply of the venue? Was deployment of 2000 policemen was enough to control the crowd or the city administration was not expecting such a huge gathering? The people wanted to know what actually had happened that resulted into the death of seven people.


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