Sajjad yesterday met with a delegation from Saudi Arabia to discuss the tragic case of Qasim Akram, a constituent from Bolton who wa
s tragically killed on 11th September, along with 106 other people, when a crane collapsed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The meeting took place in Brussels during a visit of a high-level Parliamentary group led by, Mohammed bin Amin Al-Jefri, Deputy Speaker of Saudi Arabia’s Consultative Assembly (the Majlis Al-Shura).
Mr Al-Jefri gave his assurances that Qasim's family would receive a personal phone call to offer their condolences, providing them the opportunity to discuss the situation with the relevant authorities. He also gave his word that the case would be properly pursued in Saudi Arabia, ensuring that the appropriate compensation would be delivered.
However, problems were soon encountered by the family of the deceased and despite the Foreign office intervention and Qasim's next of kin in the UK emailing the Saudi authorities, they received no information at all.
Some fourteen hours later Mr Akram’s body was eventually found in the morgue after relatives queued for six hours only to find he was wearing two identity bands.
In the wake of their own tragedy, Qasim's family feel that there is little hope for the families affected by last week's Hajj stampede, after the manner in which their situation was dealt with.
Commenting on the issue, Sajjad said:
"The case of Qasim Akram is a tragedy that no words or actions can undo, but I am pleased by the Deputy Speaker's assurances that my constituent's family will be receiving a personal message from the Saudi Arabians.
"I will be contacting the European External Action Service - headed by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini - in order to establish what can be done to ensure the safety of European citizens who perform the Hajj in the future."
Sajjad previously sat on the Delegation for relations with the Gulf States, including Yemen
Note: The Saudi Government have already pledged that the families of those killed in the crane accident will receive 1million riyals (appox £175,000) in compensation. Disputes on te liability of construction company are on going.