Train accidents are nothing new in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement, and poor investment
Islamabad: On Thursday at least 73 people were killed and dozens wounded after a passenger train erupted in flames in central Pakistan, a provincial minister said.
Television channels showed flames pouring out of the carriages as people could be heard crying in the incident near Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province. “According to information after reaching from the site of the accident, more than 65 people were killed and over 40 injured,” provincial health minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said.
The injured were being rushed to hospitals in the nearby city of Bahawalpur and elsewhere in Rahim Yar Khan district, Rashid said, adding that only 18 of the bodies were identifiable.
“Terrible train tragedy with gas cylinder carried by passenger exploding,” said human rights minister Shireen Mazari.
Mazari added that the train was the Tezgam, one of Pakistan’s oldest and most popular train services, which runs between the garrison city of Rawalpindi, adjacent to Islamabad, and the southern port city of Karachi.
Thousands of people crowded onto the tracks staring at the three burning carriages, which had been disconnected from the rest of the train.
Train accidents are nothing new in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement, and poor investment.
In the month of July this year at least 23 people were killed in the same district when a passenger train coming from the eastern city of Lahore rammed into a goods train that was stopped at a crossing.
Accidents often happen at unmanned crossings, which frequently lack barriers and sometimes signals.
Prime Minister Imran Khan before elections last year on promised to build an Islamic welfare state but an ongoing economic slowdown and austerity measures have hampered efforts to invest in infrastructure and social programs.
Especially rural Punjab has witnessed many gruesome accidents over the years, including an oil tanker explosion in 2017 when more than 200 people were killed after the truck crashed on the main highway in central Punjab province while carrying some 50,000 litres of fuel from Karachi to Lahore.
Later hour It exploded within some minute, sending a fireball through crowds from a nearby village who had gathered to scavenge for the spilt fuel, despite warnings by the driver and police to stay away.