Pakistan Train Fire: Death Toll Rises To 65

Islamabad: As many as sixty-five passengers were charred to death and many injured when a train from Karachi to Rawalpindi caught fire in Pakistan’s east Punjab province on Thursday, Geo news reported.

The passenger train, Tezgam, caught fire near the city area of Liaquatpur, a Pakistan Railways official confirmed. The fire broke out when a gas cylinder being carried by a passenger exploded, he said.

District Police Officer Rahim Yar Khan Ameer Taimoor Khan while speaking to Geo News, had earlier confirmed the death of 25 people, adding that at least 30 have been injured. However, latest reports claimed that the toll has risen to 65.

According to details, the passengers were cooking breakfast when the blast occurred. Two adjoining coaches were engulfed in the raging fire. The fire destroyed three of the train carriages, including two economy class carriages and one business class.

Pakistan Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed said, “Two cooking stoves blew up. They were cooking, they had (cooking) oil which added fuel to fire. Most deaths occurred when people jumped off the train,” he said.

He added, men from a “Tableeghi Jammat” were travelling in the carriage where the incident occurred. “Bogies were severely damaged by the fire and they have been detached from the rest of the train,” he said.

Rasheed added the fire had been extinguished and cooling efforts were underway.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while expressing his condolences directed the authorities to ensure the provision of best medical treatment for the injured.

This is the second major train accident in Pakistan this year. In July, 24 people were killed, when the Akbar Bugti Express travelling from Lahore to Quetta collided with a stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Sadiqabad Tehsil of Punjab province.

[With IANS Inputs]