Fire sparks Pakistan wedding tragedy

A fire broke out in a tent at a wedding party in eastern Pakistan, triggering a stampede and wall collapse that killed 27 women and children, police said on Sunday.

More than 30 other people were injured when the wedding party turned into a tragedy late on Saturday night in Jhok Utra, a village about 120km west of the city of Multan, said area police officer Khadim Hussain Khadim.

A high-powered electric light apparently sparked the fire in the large canvas tent where more than 100 women and children, many singing wedding songs, were present, Khadim said.

He said 15 women and six children died of burns from the flaming and collapsing tent, from injuries cause by a stampede when people tried to escape, and from debris from a nearby newly built wall that toppled in the stampede.

The death toll increased to 27 after one child and five women died of their injuries late on Saturday. Two women died of head injuries at a hospital in Dera Ghazi Khan and three others lost their lives en route to a hospital in Multan, Khadim said.

The tent had been set up on the lawn at the home of the bride, who was among the dead, Khadim said.

More than 30 women and children were injured, and eight of them were taken in serious condition to hospitals in Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan, Khadim said.

It was not known whether the six new casualties were among the tally of more than 30 people who had been reported injured earlier.

Khadim said the men had been in a separate tent that was not damaged.—Sapa-AP

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