Multan Tragedy: – Earlier fainting of young boys who were being lifted to the container top as shown in the video clips. That scene definitely reflects very badly on PTI’s management ability. They had failed to create a buffer zone between crowds and the container. Due to the pressure of the crowds boys were pushed between people and the container and fainted. And there were no arrangements to meet this situation. On top of that when DJ Butt’s message for help to top leadership was being attempted Shah Mehmood Qureshi – in love with his own oratory – ignored that plea or did not understand what was being said. Shah Mehmood Qureshi must explain that, which he has not done so far.
However insensitive or inefficient that scene looked, it had no relation in time and space to what happened at the gate much later. Many elements in the media tried linking the two events as if they were happening at the same time or one lead to the other. In reality this “fainted boy being lifted to the stage” happened during and around Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s speech which was followed by Imran Khan’s speech and people started to move to leave only after Imran finished and left. The tragedy of 8 deaths and dozens and dozens injured happened only due to the closure of the gates and especially due to the closure of that gate on which most public depended -as I have explained in a note earlier and also in my program with the help of video. If a similar administrative failure – for which all blame lies on DCO Multan – would happen in a country as educated or disciplined as Germany or Sweden or Norway the result will be equally disastrous if not more.
History of stampedes shows that Pakistani crowds are far more disciplined than in most other countries. Few big stampedes have happened in Pakistan. In India massive accidents have happened at religious congregations as a norm or routine. But not in Pakistan. Pakistan has its fair share of problems but crowds acting in panic and causing stampedes is not one of them. This is a country where people rush to help injured after suicide bombings thus becoming victims of second follow on attack. Some of the things are unusual about Pakistani people; collective psychological strength, ability to bear pain and to keep standing in the face of tragedy and adversity is a Pakistani quality. The sheer audacity with which Pakistani people have stood up to hundreds of attacks of terrorism without a collective neurosis or break-down is a testament of that psychological strength.
What happened in Multan was mismanagement; fundamentally it was failure of DCO and his Administration who had ignored the needs of a huge crowd for exit at the end of jalsa. It was also PTI’s failure who should also have realized the potential problem with the stadium and its gates and should have agitated it more with DCO or his superiors. Blame anyone but please don’t blame the crowds. They were one of the best disciplined from any standard – and this is where lies the hope!