Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

Pakistan train fire: What happened on Karachi to Rawalpindi train? Latest news | World | News

A train travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi has killed at least 71 people when a gas stove triggered a massive fire according to officials. The train was approaching the town of Liaquatpur in Punjab when flames chased through the carriages.

Pakistan is known for its dilapidated and poorly maintained rail system, with often overcrowded and unsafe trains.

Deputy commissioner Jamil Ahmed said the number of dead had risen since this morning.

The fire is believed to have begun when a gas stove exploded as breakfast was being prepared on board.

Prime minister Imran Khan has ordered an urgent investigation into the fire and expressed deep sorrow over the “terrible tragedy”.

Read More: Pakistan train horror: At least 70 dead as fire rips through train

Ghulam Abbas, a passenger who had got on the train in the town of Nawabshah in neighbouring Sindh province with his wife and two children, told of how they had watched panicked passengers in his carriage jump off.

He said: “We learned after that most of them had died.”

Mr Abbas added it was nearly 20 minutes before the train stopped.

His wife, Sulai Khan Bibi, said she was horrified about what would happen to their two small children.

She said: “We were so close to death, but Allah saved us.”

Horrifying pictures show the flames bursting through train carriage windows, as well as the blackened aftermath of the blaze.

Poor passengers are known to bring their own cooking equipment onto trains to cook their meals, despite rules stating not to.

On the overcrowded and often dangerous trains, these rules are frequently overlooked.

Deputy Commissioner Mr Ahmed said cooking oil brought onto the train by Islamic missionaries known as Tableeqi-e-Jamaat had caught fire after the initial cooking stove exploded, fuelling the flames.

Railway official Shabir Ahmed said bodies of passengers were scattered over a wide area around the site.

People from nearby villages had rushed to the train, carrying buckets of water and shovels to help douse the flames.

However, Mr Ahmed said: “It was impossible.”

Rescue workers have been looking through the charred debris and burnt wreckage of the train for survivors, and local television channels showed firefighters struggling to contain the flames.

Officials said they were still trying to identify the victims and the lists of fatalities and those injured were not ready yet.

They added another train was dispatched to take the survivors to the city of Rawalpindi.

Yasmin Rashid, a provincial minister in Punjab, told reporters medical staff were providing the best possible treatment for the injured at a hospital in Liaquatpur.

Those critically injured were taken by ambulance to the city of Multan.

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