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Pakistan: 30 dead and over 80 injured after 10 coaches of Hazara Express got derailed near Sindh’s Nawabshah

The Commissioner of Benazirabad division, Abbas Baloch said at least 30 died in the incident while passengers are still stranded in a bogie.

At least 30 people have lost their life and over 80 people have sustained injuries in a train accident near Sahara Railway Station in Sindh’s Nawabshah district, officials said as reported by Pakistan’s Geo TV. The casualties took place after 10 bogies of Havelian-bound Hazara Express got derailed on Sunday, 6 August. 

In an official statement, the Commissioner of Benazirabad division, Abbas Baloch said at least 30 died in the incident while passengers are still stranded in a bogie.

The train was heading towards Rawalpindi from Karachi, Dawn news reported. The injured passengers have been taken to the Medical Hospitals in Shahdadpur and Nawabshah. However, the People’s Hospital in Nawabshah reportedly has a maximum capacity of around 1,000 people.

For this reason, a state of emergency has been declared in all the hospitals in the district. Train operations to and fro from the interior districts of Sindh have been suspended and restoration of operations can take up to 18 hours as per officials.  

Another Police official stated that nine out of 10 wrecked bogies had been cleared. Bodies of deceased individuals and those injured have been pulled out of these bogies. However, the official added that the remaining bogie will need heavy heavy machinery to be cleared. The officials have maintained that the number of casualties can increase as time progresses.   

The senior superintendent of police said the train, comprising 17 bogies with a capacity of 950 passengers in its economy class and 72 in its air-conditioned standard coach, went off track on its way to Havelian from Karachi in district Sanghar. 

Pakistan rangers and Army personnel have been called in large numbers, following the directions of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asif Munir, to carry out the rescue operations and military helicopters have also been asked to assist them.    

The officials have categorically stated that the reason behind the train derailment still remains unknown. However, officials have not ruled out the possibility of tampering or an act of terror behind this derailment. During a press conference, Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique claimed that someone could have “deliberately” caused the accident and it could also be a mechanical fault. 

Pakistani Railway Minister Saad said, “First, we will provide relief and then investigate. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is reaching the site. Emergency has been imposed in hospitals in Sukkur.” 

As per a report in GeoTV, officials present at the accident site stated that accidents on Pakistan’s decaying rail system are common. 

A day before the Hazara train derailment, three coaches of Allama Iqbal Express which were heading from Karachi to Sialkot got derailed, but no one suffered injured in that incident. 

Earlier, when the same locomotive was heading towards Havelian from Karachi, it had narrowly escaped a grave accident in March this year and nobody was hurt. According to reports, it happened after railway officials had put a rusted train on tracks.

Earlier Major train accidents

Pakistan has an alarming track record when it comes to train accidents. Over the past decade, it has experienced several fatal train accidents, and the frequency of such accidents has been on the rise in recent years.

Earlier, in June 2021, around 65 people died and more than 150 were injured when two trains collided near Daharki in Sindh. Back then, an express derailed onto the opposite track, and a second passenger train crashed into the wreckage roughly a minute later.

In October 2019, at least 75 passengers were burnt to death in a fire aboard the Tezgam Express train. In 2005, more than 100 passengers lost their lives when two trains collided at Ghotki.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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