Thursday, October 29, 2020
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16 killed, dozens injured in Pakistan train crash

16 killed, dozens injured 
in Pakistan train crash

A passenger train crashed into a stationary freight train in Pakistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and injuring more than 60 under overturned carriages, police said, with the prime minister blaming ageing, poorly maintained rail infrastructure.
The Akbar Express, heading to the western city of Quetta from Lahore, crashed into the freight train in the Sadiqabad area of Punjab province’s southern Rahim Yar Khan district, destroying five carriages and trapping passengers.
Rescue workers freed the wounded by cutting through the twisted metal of the carriages and dozens were taken to hospital, police said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a statement of condolence in which he blamed the infrastructure of Pakistan’s colonial-era railway network which has fallen into disrepair due to chronic under-investment and poor maintenance.
“Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure and ensure safety standards,” Khan tweeted.
Last month, six people were killed when a freight train collided with a passenger train in Hyderabad 165 km (100 miles) from Karachi.
The cause of Thursday’s crash is under investigation but Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said human error was believed to be responsible.
“I have ordered an inquiry. Investigation will complete in two-three days,” he told Geo Television. The minister also announced compensation for the dead and injured.
According to a railways spokesperson, an information cell has been set up in Sukkur division for the families of the victims.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari urged the government to announce monetary support for the affected families. He also demanded that the railways minister be held accountable for the tragedy. “Railway accidents continue to be a routine [in Pakistan] and the minister responsible is not doing anything about it. There should be an inquiry against the minister since he is responsible for these accidents,” Bilawal said.
“PM Imran Khan has been proud of his decision to give this ministry to Sheikh Rasheed. The decision has backfired. The railways ministry is as inept as this government and public lives are in jeopardy – will the PM now ask for the minister’s resignation?” Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.