At least three girls died and dozens sustained injuries, three of them in critical condition, in a stampede during a musical concert at Alhamra Cultural Complex on Monday. The event was organised by a noted group of private colleges. Per details, the administration of the colleges arranged a musical concert of Atif Aslam, Arif Lohar and other singers and all female students of the educational institute were allowed entry to the musical show.
Families of clerical staff, teachers and other employees of the college were also allowed to attend the gala that started around 6pm. The place was overcrowded as around 5,000 girls, teachers and other staff of the college gathered at the venue. The show ended at around 10pm and as the people started leaving the venue, a stampede ensued. Subsequently, the people started pushing each other around, causing a number of girls to fall to the ground and get trampled. Officials of Rescue 1122 and parents of students rushed the girls to various hospitals, including Services Hospital, Ittefaq Hospital and Hameed Lateef Hospital.
Three girls – Maheen Naeem Abbas (22), resident of Walton Road, Farah Nawaz (20), resident of Canal View, and Nimra (21), resident of Maraghzar Colony, died at Services Hospital owing to multiple injuries, while doctors said Zoya, Mujeeba and Sana were in a critical condition. The college administration said in a statement that the incident was a result of a bomb hoax. An injured student told reporters at Services Hospital that she heard someone saying there was a bomb in the premises which was about to explode, resulting in a stampede. Another student the venue had been overcrowded. Anjum Rasheed Cheema, a parent, blamed the college administration for the mishap.
He claimed that several girls had fainted during the show due to suffocation and the administration did nothing but waited until the accident occurred.
He said he received a call from a friend of his daughter at about 7pm. “She told me that my daughter had fainted. I requested her to take her to Hameed Lateef Hospital but she said her teachers were not allowing her to do so. I was surprised to hear that the teachers had told my daughter’s friend to wait until the end of the show.”
“I immediately rushed to the place and tried to enter the theatre, but the security guards and the administration stopped me from approaching my daughter…I managed to rescue my daughter after repeated requests,” he said. An eye witness said the administration had kept all the doors of the theatre locked except for a small gate for the entry of the administration and singers.
A girl’s family told reporters that the girls rushed towards Atif Aslam when he was leaving the place on which the security guards deployed by the college baton-charged the girls, resulting in the stampede. District Coordination Officer Ahad Cheema and DIG Operations Ghulam Mehmood Cheema reached Services Hospital after the mishap.
DIG Operations Ghulam Mehmood Dogar said he had ordered a detailed enquiry, but said the college administration had sought permission for the event. . Ahad Cheema said the mishap needed detailed enquiry and no one could be blamed before concrete results.