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HomeNewsExtreme heat claims lives of 35 Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj

Extreme heat claims lives of 35 Pakistani pilgrims during Hajj

At least 35 Pakistani pilgrims have died during this year’s Hajj due to severe weather conditions, confirmed the Ministry of Religious Affairs on Thursday.

According to an AFP report, over 900 pilgrims in total lost their lives during the Hajj, with scorching temperatures and heat exhaustion contributing to many of the fatalities.

Fatalities were reported from several countries including Egypt, Pakistan, India, Jordan, Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia, and Iraq.

Abdul Wahab Soomro, Director General of Pakistan’s Haj Mission, reported that as of 4pm on June 18, there were 35 confirmed Pakistani deaths: 20 in Makkah, six in Madina, four in Mina, three in Arafat, and two in Muzdalifah.

“This Hajj was particularly challenging due to temperatures reaching 50°C,” Soomro stated.

He also dismissed social media claims of pilgrims being abandoned, asserting, “We rely on information from the Saudi government and verify deaths ourselves whenever they occur.”

The ministry further explained that according to Saudi regulations, they obtain permission from the deceased’s family for burial. “After washing the body, funeral prayers are performed here, and burial takes place in Saudi Arabia,” it said. If the family wishes to repatriate the body, arrangements are made for its return to Pakistan.

Reports indicate that friends and relatives of missing pilgrims are scouring hospitals and appealing online for information, fearing the worst.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, obligatory for all Muslims with the means to undertake it at least once in their lifetime. Its timing follows the Islamic lunar calendar, causing its dates to shift yearly in the Gregorian calendar.

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In recent years, the Hajj’s predominantly outdoor rituals have coincided with the scorching Saudi summer.

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