One person dies in stampede for free flour in Charsadda
PESHAWAR: One person was killed and eight others injured during a stampede for free flour in Charsadda, Khyber Pakthunkhwa on Thursday, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
The price of basic food items has rocketed in recent months, with inflation at a near 50 year-high as the country grapples with a balance of payments crisis that has seen it forced back into negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
“Nine people were trampled and were taken to hospital where one person died,” said Muhammad Arif, police chief for Charsadda in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where the incident happened.
Arif said hundreds of people gathered at the local market for the handouts, one of hundreds of distribution points set up by the government during Ramadan.
Separately, two people died when a wall collapsed on them at a free flour point in Bannu. They were identified as Gul Azad and Gul Khan.
“Citizens gather at one place to get flour,” Caretaker Chief Minister of KP Fazal Ilahi told Aaj News as urged them to call the official number before coming to the point.
The interim setup has taken notice of the mismanagement and deaths, seeking a detailed report from the officials. “Strict action will be taken against negligent officials and officers,” Caretaker Information Minister Feroz Jamal Shah.
Millions of low income families across the country are registered under the scheme. In a nearby district, a man died and four others were injured when a wall they were sitting on collapsed as crowds amassed for free flour.
Authorities told AFP it was not clear why the wall collapsed.
Pakistan’s finances have been wrecked by years of financial mismanagement and political instability – a situation exacerbated by a global energy crisis and devastating floods that left a third of the country under water last year.
The South Asian nation is deeply in debt, and needs to introduce tough tax and utility price increases to unlock another tranche of a $6.5 billion IMF bail-out and avoid defaulting.
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