Bodies of Pakistanis killed in UAE fire flown back home
Abu Dhabi - Embassy paid for the repatriation; Pakistan government to facilitate their loved ones.
Hundreds thronged the parking lot of the Al Ain Hospital on Sunday night to attend the funeral prayers for the six Pakistani men who died in a villa fire in Al Ain.
Also read: Pakistani's mother had heart attack same night he died in UAE fire
The deceased - including four members of a family - were sleeping when the blaze spread through their villa in Al Ain's Zakher area early Friday morning.
The bodies of the deceased identified as Omer Farouq (23); his elder brother Khurram (27); their father Farouq, who was in his 50s; their relative, Ali Haider; and two family friends, Khayal Afdal and Eid Nawaz were repatriated to Islamabad on Sunday morning, confirmed the Pakistan embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Emotional scenes"It was an emotional scene at the funeral prayers. There were about 2000 people who came to attend the prayers, and even strangers were crying," Nasir Kabir Khan, a childhood friend of Omer, one of the deceased, told Khaleej Times.
He said the Al Ain hospital management emptied the parking lot to help conduct the funeral prayers so that all members from the community could attend.
"People were crying and asking to see their faces one last time. But we could not do it as the faces of some of the men were disfigured from burning. We had to finally close the coffins to avoid a stampede," said Khan.
Other residents like Afsal Khan who attended the funeral said he could not hold his tears.
"I don't know the family but it is still shaken me deeply. The whole community is still under shock. It is one of the worst tragedies we have heard about," said Afsal Khan.
A lone survivor of the tragedy, Mohammed Raheem who was visiting the family from Dubai on the fatal night, said his "soul is shattered." How can I ever forget my friends hwo hosted me almost every weekend. They were so caring and treated me like their own. Now they are no more," Raheem told Khaleej Times.
Raheem, a driver, was sleeping in the same room as Farouq and Ali and he escaped by smashing open the aluminum roof of a bathroom. Others were not lucky enough to escape because the flames had spread rapidly, he said.
Police said they rushed ot the sport after the tragedy was reported at 5.53am on Friday.
Bodies flown back by PIAPakistan embassy in Abu Dhabi said the bodies of all six men were sent to Islamabad through national airline PIA Monday early morning, and all expense had been borne by the embassy and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and HRD.
A spokesperson said that they had coordinated with the families of the deceased and UAE authorities including hospitals, police and the mortuary, within 12 hours after ascertaining their nationality to issue emergency travel documents, including no-objection certificates to facilitate the repatriation.
Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development (HRD) said, "My prayers go out to the families of the six overseas Pakistanis who lost their lives in the tragic fire in Al Ain."
"Each of our hardworking brothers abroad matter and we are responsible for taking care of them. My team is doing everything possible to facilitate their loved ones," he said.
In a tweet, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and HRD said that the families are being facilitated by the ministry, Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF) and the Pak mission.
"Upon arrival in Pakistan, the OPF will provide ambulance service for transportation of the deceased to their homes," it said.