The arrests include a factory manager who did not tell local authorities about the Ramadan almsgiving that drew a massive crowd and led to the deaths of nine women and three children.
Pakistani police have arrested eight people in the southern port city of Karachi after a stampede killed 12 people at a Ramadan food and cash distribution point.
Police said on Saturday that the eight arrests include the factory manager, who did not tell local authorities about the Ramadan almsgiving.
Business owners during the Islamic holy month often hand out cash and food, especially to the poor.
Police say they issued and publicised an order saying that any person or organisation planning to distribute food or other things must inform authorities in advance.
“Factory management did not open the inside gate of the factory and, due to the narrow street, the people at the tail of the line pushed elderly women and children,” Superintendent of Police Investigations Dr. Hafeez Bugti told the media during a visit to the site.
“As a result, pressure in Karachi eased enormously, and women and children became the victims of the stampede,” Bugti said.
READ MORE: Ramadan alms distribution sparks deadly stampede in southern Pakistan
Compensation for casualties
On Friday, hundreds of women and children rushed to collect the food and cash outside the local factory in an industrial area of the city.
An initial report from the police says nine women, aged between 40 and 80, and three children, aged between 10 and 15, died in the crash.
The chief minister of Sindh province, where Karachi is located, announced compensation for people injured in the stampede and relatives of the victims.
Murad Ali Shah said each family who lost a loved one will receive $1,766 (500,000 rupees), while everyone injured will receive $353 (100,000 rupees.)
Funerals were held on Saturday for some of the deceased: Naseem Begum, 50, and Ma’afia Begum, 55, were buried in Karachi’s Orangi Town neighbourhood.
Shehzadi Umar, 60, was laid to rest in her hometown of Mirpur Mathelo, some eight hours from Karachi.
Neither Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif nor President Arif Alvi has commented on the stampede.
Free flour initiative
At least 23 people have died in Ramadan food stampedes since the start of the holy month.
On Saturday, police fired tear gas at crowds who gathered to receive free flour bags in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Cash-strapped Pakistan launched an initiative to distribute free flour among low-income families to ease the impact of record-breaking inflation and soaring poverty during the holy month.
While Friday’s stampede was not part of that government program, crowds have swelled at the distribution centres in recent days.
The free flour distribution initiative was launched by Sharif.
His coalition government is facing the country’s worst economic crisis amid a delay in getting a key $1.1 billion tranche of a $6 billion bailout package originally signed in 2019 with the International Monetary Fund.
READ MORE: Must 'agree' to tough IMF conditions, Pakistan PM warns struggling nation