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Wednesday Oct 21 2020
By
Reuters
,
Web Desk

Pakistan asks Afghanistan for proper management as stampede kills at least 15 visa applicants

By
Reuters
,
Web Desk
Afghan men wait to receive tokens needed to apply for a Pakistani visa, after others were killed in a stampede for the tokens in Jalalabad, Afghanistan October 21, 2020. — Reuters/Parwiz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday expressed grief over the loss of lives in a stampede at a stadium in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, where aspirants of Pakistani visas had gathered, and also urged upon the Afghan authorities to ensure better management of the process.

"We have received with sorrow and grief the news about the loss of precious Afghan lives and injuries in a stampede at a stadium in Jalalabad, several kilometres away from the Consulate General of Pakistan, where applicants for Pakistani visas were being gathered under the arrangements of the provincial Afghan authorities," the Foreign Office said.

The Pakistan Consulate had resumed the visa operation after a pause of seven months as a security precaution due to coronavirus pandemic.

"While the Embassy of Pakistan and the sub-missions in Afghanistan are committed to implement this new visa policy and to extend maximum facilitation to the visa applicants, we would request the understanding and cooperation of the Afghan people as well as the Afghan authorities to ensure better and secure management of the visa applicants," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

The statement mentioned that given the large number of visa applications, the Government of Pakistan had recently announced a new visa policy to facilitate Afghan brothers and sisters.

"The embassy of Pakistan in Kabul and the sub-missions in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif are now issuing multiple entry visas to Afghan applicants intending to visit Pakistan for family, business, medical treatment, education and other purposes," it said.

Stampede kills at least 15

At least 15 people, including 11 women, were killed in a stampede near the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghan officials confirmed on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in an open ground where thousands of Afghans had gathered to secure visas from the Pakistan consulate in eastern Afghanistan.

Ten other people including eight women were injured in the stampede.

Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in eastern Jalalabad city, where the incident occurred said of the 15 people dead, 11 were women and several senior citizens were wounded.

Two other provincial officials said over 3,000 Afghans had congregated to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa to travel to Pakistan.