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Lahore’s Kinnaird College administration to file FIR after stampede at Hasan Raheem, Asim Azhar concert



The administration of Lahore’s Kinnaird College For Women plans to file an FIR after a stampede at an all-women concert organised on campus on March 11. Students have been taking to social media to decry mismanagement and one of the performers, Asim Azhar, said he was unable to perform because “people [were] getting injured.”

The capacity of the amphitheatre where the concert was held was approximately 2,500 but over 3,500 tickets were sold, according to one of the organisers of the event. This led to chaos outside the venue, several people not being allowed to enter despite possessing tickets, and a stampede inside. At least one student was injured but the extent of her injuries is still unclear. The varsity administration said so far, they have received no official complaints. They accepted that one student had been injured and said the claims on social media were “false”.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor’s Office confirmed to Images that an FIR will be lodged and said refunds for the concert tickets for those who were not able to enter the premises are under way. So far, the university says it has refunded Rs200,000 worth of tickets to women who had bought tickets but were not able to enter the amphitheatre. The administration has asked the organisers to refund the money to the students and issue an apology to the artists, especially Asim Azhar. A meeting was held on Saturday to discuss their course of action.

The Race Course Police confirmed that no FIR had been filed as of Saturday evening.

The concert lineup featured artists such as Hasan Raheem, Azhar, Risham Faiz Bhutta, Ali Arif and the band, Sami Khan and a surprise performance by actor Hira Mani. However, Azhar was unable to appear on stage.

Raheem and other celebrities shared clips from the event, showing a massive crowd.

Asim Azhar speaks out

Azhar took to Instagram to apologise to all the people who were “disappointed” that he couldn’t perform and came specifically for him. “I was backstage the entire time with my team ready – but due to the issues of management and crowd control, they told us we could not perform. There were a lot of people in the crowd getting injured and they had to stop it,” he wrote.

Azhar also wrote that the venue capacity could not hold the amount of people that were present. He also said that he had no “other choice but to listen to the management” as it was legitimately concerning. He called it as surprising for him as it was for the people who were there to watch him perform. “We are disappointed as you guys are. Trust me,” wrote the singer while hoping that he meets everyone very soon.

The ‘Ghalat Fehmi’ singer wrote that sometimes thing are out of his and his team’s control and that nothing makes him more sad than not being able to see and perform for his fans. He also clarified that his team had no idea about the ticket situation and that the management or the organisers are to be blamed in this case. “We are just artists who are called to perform. However we still apologise on the management’s behalf as well,” the singer wrote.

Azhar mentioned that if this had been controlled beforehand, nobody could’ve gotten injured. He also repeated on how “disappointed” he and his team were. The singer wrote, “we have also put pressure on the organisers to control the damages and get a refund for every person who bought the ticket and wasn’t able to watch the rest of the performances due to THEIR lack of protocol.”

He also lent support to those affected and injured at the event. “I’d love to help out in any way that I can. All love and prayers for you guys,” said Azhar.

Organisers apologise

The 25-year-old singer’s explanation came hours after the organisers, Top Ventures Events posted an apology and explanation of what happened at the concert. “To begin with, we want to apologise to the attendees who bought tickets to this event. In our defense, we stopped over 400 attendees with fake passes of the event and when the gates crashed due to excessive push from the crown, hundred attendees entered the venue without tickets,” wrote the organisers.

They also admitted that this caused injuries and distress to those who “had legitimate tickets” at the event. The organisers claimed that “attendees climbed over the walls, ripped through our security fencing and pushed through gates to enter the venue, causing management problems.”

An organiser told Images on the condition of anonymity that the concert was held at the amphitheatre of the college and due to poor management there was a stampede. The show was organised by the business department of the college with some private sponsors involved. Azhar was asked to leave due to the stampede and could not perform, confirmed the organiser.

They also revealed that only two to three singers were able to perform at the event, including Raheem. There was a capacity of 2,500 people, but the management sold 3,500 tickets, said the organiser.

The matter was brought into the knowledge of the principal of Kinnaird College who called off the event immediately. The police confirmed to Images that they received a call to 15 and sent officers to the scene. The college administration said they called the police to control the crowd. Images could not confirm whether the administration made the call as all calls to 15 are anonymous.

Students outraged

A student who attended the event told Images that they waited for an hour or two in long queues outside the amphitheatre, waiting for the gates to open. When they did, the crowd got forceful and pushed each other to get to the gates, which resulted in a lot of chaos and confusion, she said.

The bouncers let some women in in batches, shutting the gates at intervals. The crowd was huge and the constricted movement led to some attendees “fainting and falling down.” The student mentioned that the security people were rather brisk and rude with crowd control and passed “derogatory remarks.”

She shared how she was personally affected by the “mismanaged” concert. “There were metal barriers outside the amphitheatre and my friend and I were standing very close to them. The security didn’t open them, saying that the house was full and there is no more space. People kept pushing, my friend and I were pushed into the barrier which hit us so bad that I have a bruise. People were screaming in pain, crying, protesting and demanding refunds.”

She continued, “My scarf was displaced from my head, resulting in knots around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. I felt as if there was no air — there literally wasn’t — and I just couldn’t take it anymore.”

The student said they were promised refunds nothing was done. “Then they said we’ll refund your money if you show us your tickets, which didn’t happen as expected.” When they announced they won’t refund the money, a couple of girls went up to confront them but were met with shouts and verbal abuses, according to the student.

Many other students took to social media to share their outrage at the mismanagement.

The university management says it will release a statement on the incident.


Hearses queue at Beijing crematorium, even as China reports no new COVID deaths




  • Queue of hearses seen outside Beijing crematorium.
  • China reports no new deaths; some criticise its accounting.
  • Beijing faces surge in severe COVID in next 2 weeks: expert.

BEIJING: Dozens of hearses queued outside a Beijing crematorium on Wednesday, even as China reported no new COVID-19 deaths in its growing outbreak, sparking criticism of its virus accounting as the capital braces for a surge of severe cases.

Following widespread protests, the country of 1.4 billion people this month began dismantling its “zero-COVID” regime of lockdowns and testing that had largely kept the virus away for three years — at great economic and psychological costs.

The abrupt change of policy has caught the country’s fragile health system unprepared, with hospitals scrambling for beds and blood, pharmacies for drugs, and authorities racing to build special clinics. Experts now predict China could face more than a million COVID deaths next year.

At a crematorium in Beijing’s Tongzhou district on Wednesday, a Reuters witness saw a queue of around 40 hearses waiting to enter, while the parking lot was full.

Inside, family and friends, many wearing white clothing and headbands as is tradition, were gathered around roughly 20 coffins awaiting cremation. Staff wore hazmat suits. Smoke rose from five of the 15 furnaces.

There was a heavy police presence outside the crematorium.

Reuters could not verify whether the deaths were caused by COVID.

Narrow definition

People wearing face masks commute in a subway station during morning rush hour, following the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China January 20, 2021.— Reuters
People wearing face masks commute in a subway station during morning rush hour, following the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China January 20, 2021.— Reuters 

China uses a narrow definition of COVID deaths, reporting no new fatalities for Tuesday and even crossing one off its overall tally since the pandemic began, now amounting to 5,241 — a fraction of what much less populous countries faced.

The National Health Commission said on Tuesday only people whose death is caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure after contracting the virus are classified as COVID deaths.

Benjamin Mazer, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University, said that classification would miss “a lot of cases,” especially as people who are vaccinated, including with the Chinese shots, are less likely to die of pneumonia.

Blood clots, heart problems and sepsis — an extreme body response to infection – have caused countless deaths among COVID patients around the world.

“It doesn’t make sense to apply this sort of March 2020 mindset where it’s only COVID pneumonia that can kill you, when we know that in the post-vaccine era, there’s all sorts of medical complications,” Mazer said.

Looming surge

The death toll might rise sharply in the near future, with state-run Global Times citing a leading Chinese respiratory expert predicting a spike in severe cases in Beijing over the coming weeks.

People line up at a makeshift fever clinic set up inside a stadium, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 19, 2022.— Reuters
People line up at a makeshift fever clinic set up inside a stadium, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 19, 2022.— Reuters

“We must act quickly and prepare fever clinics, emergency and severe treatment resources,” Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert from Peking University First Hospital, told the newspaper.

Severe cases rose by 53 across China on Tuesday, versus an increase of 23 the previous day. China does not provide absolute figures of severe cases.

Wang expects the COVID wave to peak in late January, with life likely to return to normal by end-February or early March.

The NHC also played down concerns raised by the United States and some epidemiologists over the potential for the virus to mutate, saying the possibility of new strains that are more pathogenic is low.

Paul Tambyah, President of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, supported that view.

“I do not think that this is a threat to the world,” he said. “The chances are that the virus will behave like every other human virus and adapt to the environment in which it circulates by becoming more transmissible and less virulent.”

Several leading scientists and World Health Organisation advisors told Reuters a potentially devastating wave to come in China means it may be too early to declare the end of the global COVID pandemic emergency phase.

Economic impact

The United States on Tuesday indicated it stands ready to assist China with its outbreak, warning an uncontrolled spread in the world’s second-largest economy may hurt global growth.

A major near-term concern for economists is the impact a surge in infections might have on factory output and logistics as workers and truck drivers fall ill.

The World Bank on Tuesday cut its China growth outlook for this year and next, citing the abrupt loosening of COVID measures among other factors.

Some local governments continue to relax rules.

Staff at the Communist Party and government institutions or enterprises in the southwestern city of Chongqing who have mild COVID symptoms can go to work if they wear a mask, state-run China Daily reported.

Other Chinese media reported similar moves in several cities.

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Blast hits seminary in north Afghanistan, killing 15




  • Religious seminary attacked in Samangan province.
  • At least 20 people are also wounded.
  • Unclear who’s behind attack.

KABUL: A blast tore through a religious seminary in the northern Afghan province of Samangan on Wednesday, killing 15 people, a provincial spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Samangan’s provincial government Emdadullah Muhajir, added that at least 20 people were also wounded in the explosion.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast.

The Taliban say they are focused on securing the war-torn nation since taking over the country last year, however, several attacks have taken place in recent months, some of which have been claimed by Daesh.

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Indonesia quake kills more than 50, injures hundreds and destroys homes




  • Quake strikes Cianjur town.
  • Some residents trapped in rubble.
  • Twenty-five aftershocks recorded.

JAKARTA: A 5.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds in Indonesia’s West Java province on Monday, with rescuers trying to reach survivors trapped under the rubble amid a series of aftershocks as night fell.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil confirmed 56 deaths from the quake, whose epicentre was the town of Cianjur, about 75 km (45 miles) southeast of the capital, Jakarta, where some buildings shook and some offices were evacuated.

“So many buildings crumbled and shattered,” Ridwan told reporters.

“There are residents trapped in isolated places … so we are under the assumption that the number of injured and deaths will rise with time.”

Indonesia straddles the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a highly seismically active zone, where different plates on the Earth’s crust meet and create a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes.

The national disaster agency (BNPB) said 23 people were likely still trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. More than 1,770 houses were damaged and nearly 3,900 people had been displaced in Cianjur, spokesperson Abdul Muhari said.

Electricity was down and disrupting communications efforts, Herman Suherman, head of Cianjur’s government, said, adding that people in the area of Cugenang were unable to be evacuated because of a landslide blocking access.

Footage from news channel Metro TV showed what appeared to be hundreds of victims being treated in a hospital parking lot and some buildings in Cianjur reduced almost entirely to rubble as worried residents huddled outside.

Other TV channels showed victims hooked up to intravenous drips and being treated on the sidewalk.

Officials were still working to determine the full extent of the damage caused by the quake, which struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km, according to the weather and geophysics agency (BMKG).

Muchlis, who was in Cianjur when the quake hit, said he felt “a huge tremor” and his office walls and ceiling were damaged.

“I was very shocked. I worried there would be another quake,” Muchlis told Metro TV, adding that people ran out of their houses, some fainting and vomiting in response.

Less than two hours after the quake, 25 aftershocks had been recorded, BMKG said, adding there were concerns about the potential for more landslides in the event of heavy rain.

In Jakarta, some people evacuated offices in the central business district, while others reported buildings shaking and furniture moving, Reuters witnesses said.

In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off Sumatra island in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline, more than half of them in Indonesia.

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