27 killed in Pakistan wedding fire

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The Independent Online

A fire that broke out in a wedding party tent in eastern Pakistan triggered a stampede and wall collapse that killed 27 women and children, including the bride, police said today.

More than 30 other people were injured when the wedding party turned into tragedy late last night local time in Jhok Utra, a village about 75 miles west of the city of Multan.

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

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

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

The injured were taken to hospitals in the cities of Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan.

Khadim said the men had been in a separate tent that was not damaged.