At least 12 people died, including women and children, during charity distribution (ZAKAT) among the families of employees working at a private company in Karachi’s Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (SITE) area on Friday.
The dead included five women and three children, while five others had been injured, according to a local police spokesperson reported by local media. Most of the victims were women between 40 to 50 years of age.
Later, South Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Irfan Ali Baloch said another woman had died, taking the death toll to 12.
“Money was being distributed among people experiencing poverty. It was happening for a few days. Today a large crowd had gathered, which resulted in a stampede. Efforts to control the crowd made things worse. Some people drowned in the nearby stream; others were trampled underfoot,” said Faisal Edhi, Head of the Welfare Organization Edhi Foundation.
Recently, at least 11 more individuals, including women, have perished in Pakistan’s Punjab province while attempting to obtain free wheat from government distribution centres.
In the most recent event in Karachi, at least 22 people died in stampedes that occurred in Pakistani free food centres.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched the food distribution initiative last week after a severe economic crisis.
The incident occurred amid a financial crisis in the country while negotiating with the IMF to release a USD 1.1 billion bailout package.
The fund is part of a USD 6.5 billion bailout plan that the IMF authorised in 2019 and which analysts believe is essential for Pakistan to avoid defaulting on its obligations under its external debt.
In addition, the Pakistani authorities accepted the IMP’s harsh conditions, such as increasing the essential foods and petrol prices to meet the requirement and avail revenue which has been a burden to the ordinary people.
In Pakistan, the weekly inflation rate has reached a record high of 45%. According to the country’s central bank, Pakistan is attempting to boost its foreign exchange reserves, which are at their lowest as of now.