16 women injured in BISP stipend distribution stampede

Zeeshan Shah

  • Many women fainted due to heat, Baldia SP says.
  • "Women fell women due to slope at gate's opening," police.
  • BISP camp was set up at the KPT School.

KARACHI: A stampede at the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) camp in Karachi's Keamari area has left 16 women injured, as they queued to receive the government-funded stipend on Monday.

Rescue vehicles rushed to the scene and shifted injured women to the Civil Hospital for treatment. Rescue officials indicated that one woman's condition was critical in the wake of the incident.

Amidst a deteriorating economic crisis, numerous job losses have been reported in Pakistan as industries shut down. The government faces challenges reviving a stagnant International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

The economic turmoil in the country has led to an incessant rise in inflation, with the annual rate reaching 34.05%.

Baldia Superintendent of Police (SP) Mughees Hashmi said 16 women were injured and unconscious, while four others were transported to the hospital for medical assistance with those injured.

"People were being sent away from time to time due to lack of space in the school," he said.

The BISP camp, the police said, was set up at the KPT School. They added that a large number of women and children were present outside the school.

"The stampede took place as they rushed to get inside the gate after it opened, while the number of people there was high," the police told Geo News.

He added that numerous women fainted at the location due to the heat. "The women fell as a result of a slope at the gate's opening," SP Baldia said.

A woman, who was also present at the site, said they were called in to receive BISP money.

Launched in 2008, the BISP provides cash handouts to the needy and also played a crucial role during the COVID times when financial assistance was given to people during extreme economic distress.

Ramadan stampedes

In Ramadan this year, several people across Pakistan died and were left injured during charity distributions for the needy, as the deepening cost of living crisis in the cash-strapped country increased in the wake of incessant soaring inflation.

In the port city, a major accident unfolded where 11 innocent citizens, including women and children, lost their lives — in an attempt to put food on their table — during a stampede inside the premises of a factory in SITE. Five in the incident were injured.

In other instances, numerous people were dead and injured in stampedes at sites distributing free flour under a government-backed scheme to help families struggling with the rising costs of basic staples.

Thousands of people gathered at the centres set up across the country as part of the government's efforts to ease the impact of inflation. The Pakistani government had launched the flour distribution programme to reach millions of families in need during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.