72 killed as train in Pakistan catches fire, second incident since July in same town

A fire that broke out in a train in Pakistan, plying between Karachi and Rawalpindi, left more than 70 dead and about 40 injured

Angry South African commuters torch trains and riot at Cape Town railway station
Representational picture of train catching fire

A major disaster broke when a train plying between the port city of Karachi and Rawalpindi caught fire in Pakistan. According to official figures, about 72 people have perished and 40 injured. Apart from those who were charred to death, majority among the deceased were those who jumped off the train to avert the fire. The train was near town Rahim Yar Khan, located in the south of Pakistan's Punjab province.

Giving information about the source of fire, Minister of Railways Sheikh Rashid, told Geo Tv, "Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of oil which the passengers carried, added fuel to the fire". Regarding the need for passengers to bring gas stoves and kerosene along with them, the minister said that people carrying stoves onboard to prepare meals on long journey is a common problem in Pakistan railways. Refuting the minister's claims, some of the survivors told the reporters that the source of the fire might be a short-circuit in the train's electrical system, BBC reported. The fire is reported to have spread to three train carriages, carriages 11, 12 and 13.

Train in Pakistan plying between Karachi and Rawalpindi engulfed in fire The Guardian

Regarding the state of the victims, district's Deputy Commissioner told reporters that some of the victims were in such a bad condition that DNA tests would be carried out to ascertain their identity. Commenting on the incident, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan took to twitter to offer condolences and informed that he had ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from Pakistan People's Party (PPP) also took to twitter to offer his condolences. He called out the Railways Minister for putting the "blame on the victims" and asked for his "sacking till further investigation".

In July, a rail accident in the same town claimed 23 lives, when a train from Lahore collided with a goods' train. Pakistan's colonial era railways goes through frequent accidents because of its poor maintenance, mainly due to lack of investments and mismanagement. The incident on Thursday is reported to have been the worst train accident in the country