Islamabad: The death toll of Pakistani pilgrims in the Haj stampede today doubled from 18 to 36, even as scores of people are still missing after the worst incident in 25 years to strike the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousaf has said that 36 Pakistani pilgrims were killed and 35 injured in the stampede near Saudi holy city of Mecca on Thursday.
At least 85 Pakistanis are still missing after the tragedy which killed at least 769 pilgrims from different countries, Yousaf told state-run television.
He said that 217 Pakistanis who went missing after the stampede were traced and contacts have been established with them.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed the officials to expedite efforts to trace the remaining missing pilgrims.
Some of the relatives blamed government for failure to respond to the queries about the fate of the pilgrims.
"Nobody is helping us as both ministry of religious affairs and foreign ministry are not responding to our calls," a relative said.