The Tragedy of Mina cost more or less 1,000 precious lives of pilgrims belonging to various countries. The frequency of such incidents has compelled the entire Muslim Ummah pressurize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to review and change the existing mechanism of organizing Hajj and Umrah operations.
While there are bleak chances the KSA would yield to the pressure, yet it is incumbent upon all Muslim States to keep exerting the pressure. Here one must understand that criticizing the KSA or asking it to bring immediate structural changes does not mean undermining Islam.
Capital TV took the initiative and with extensive news coverage and current affairs programs kept the issue alive. It incurred severe criticism from pro-Saudi quarters. We strongly believe in asking questions when more than 40 Pakistani pilgrims (along with hundreds others) died in the unfortunate incident, which was purely an administrative blunder.
The editorial board of Capital TV has formulated a Charter of Demands. It urges upon the KSA to look into it. The following Charter would also benefit the countries which are seriously pursuing this case:
- An International Inquiry Committee comprising leading Muslim Institutions and Sects shall be constituted to investigate Mina Tragedy. The Committee shall fix the responsibility with the help of available evidence including CCTV footage and recommend punishment for those who were responsible.
- Visa requirement for pilgrims to visit the holy cities of Makkah and Madina shall be abolished. Every Muslim who can afford and intends to perform Hajj or Umrah shall be given permission to visit those cities upon his/her arrival at Jeddah Airport.
- A comprehensive insurance cover for pilgrims shall be formulated by the entire Muslim World. Likewise, a joint mechanism for their security shall also be ensured.
- The Muslim World shall constitute a Special Force to serve pilgrims and maintain and protect the two Holy Sites.
- The pilgrims shall be allowed to visit Mount Uhud where Holy Prophet (PBUH) had once taken refuge.
- The demolished shrines and tombs – built during Ottoman Empire – in Jannat-ul-Baqi shall be rebuilt and made accessible for pilgrims.
- Normally, the male pilgrims are not allowed to offer prayers near Jannat-ul-Baqi. This practice must be stopped, forthwith.
- Female pilgrims shall be allowed to gather near the boundary wall of Jannat-ul-Baqi to have an entire view of the place.
- The demolished tombs of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) wives shall be rebuilt and taken care of in future.
- The graves of family members of Holy Prophet (PBUH) shall be identified by erecting plaques or by any other means.
- Pilgrims shall be allowed to visit the tombs of the daughter of Holy Prophet (PBUH), Syeda Fatima Zahra, and the second wife of the fourth Caliph of Islam Hazrat Ali, Ummul Banin.
- The grave of the third Caliph of Islam Hazrat Usman Ghani shall be identified and a tomb be rebuilt.
- A correct map of Jannat-ul-Baqi shall be circulated identifying all the graves of revered personalities. The map shall be displayed at the Holy Sites along with the interpreters to facilitate the pilgrims.
- Similarly, a correct map of Jannatul-Mualla shall be circulated. The tomb of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) first wife Hazrat Khadija-tul-Kubra be rebuilt.
- All items and places belonging to Holy Prophet (PBUH) shall be identified and made accessible for the pilgrims.
- The time restrictions on female pilgrims to visit the Roza-e-Pak of Holy Prophet (PBUH) shall be abolished.
- The VIPs shall not have any special treatment or protocol inside the two Holy Sites. Everyone visiting the Holy Sites shall be treated equally and fairly.
- In future, there shall be a comprehensive ban on VIP movement in Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat or any other holy place. The roads shall not be blocked on this count.
- There shall be no distinction among pilgrims on the basis of their wealth and status. The VIP culture during Hajj shall be abolished.
- The arrangements of Hajj and Umrah and maintenance of the two Holy Sites shall not be the exclusive right of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or any particular Sect. There shall be a Supervisory Committee to be formed by the entire Muslim Ummah to take care of it.