RAHIM YAR KHAN, Pakistan: As many as 74 passengers of Rawalpindi-bound Tezgam Express train were burnt to death while about 45 injured when three of its bogies caught fire near Rahim Yar Khan city on Thursday morning, the Dispatch News Desk (DND) news agency reported from Pakistan.
The Minister of Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed confirmed the death toll, and announced Rs 15,000,00 for each martyrd passenger and Rs 5,000,00 for each injured person.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in Tezgam Express fire incident.
The prime minister condoled with the bereaved families, and directed the authorities concerned to provide prompt and best possible medical treatment to those injured in the incident.
Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train. My condolences go to the victims’ families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 31, 2019
Expressing deep shock over loss of numerous human lives in the tragic incident in Rahim Yar Khan, the Ukrainian Embassy in Islamabad stated “Our sincerest condolences to the families of bereft. We wish speedy recovery to wounded. We all mourn together with brotherly Pakistan people”.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Pakistan Ali Alizada also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the Tezgam accident.
“Condolences to the bereaved families and people of Pakistan, prayers for a speedy recovery for the injured!,” he said.
In his statement, the Railways Minister also admitted that it was negligence on their part that they allowed a group of Tableeghi Jamaat to carry gas stoves with them inside the train, which eventually caused the explosion.
Three bogies of the Tezgam Express caught fire when passengers belonging to Tableeghi Jamaat had a small gas cylinder and were cooking breakfast when a cylinder was turned on, it resulted in fire in the bogy that spread to two other connected bogies as well.
The minister said that the Head of the group of Tableeghi Jamaat Ameer Hussain, who survived in the incident, has been approached, and he has all the details about the travelers.
The train got fire near a small town Liaqatpur which is 30 kilomtere away from Rahimyar Khan city.
Reports indicated that at least 10 people died when they jumped from running train to save their lives.
Pakistan Railways has no record about the identity of dead travelers as the whole bogy was booked against the name of a single person.
One of Tezgam Express Bogies was carrying Taleeghi Jamaat
According to the initial information, a bogy got fire early morning when massangers were cooking breakfast inside the running train. The fire was caused by the explosion in a gas cylinder, confirmed the Pakistan Railway officials.
Pakistan Railways said that cylinder blasted was booked by the Taleeghi Jamaat (Religious group). They were boiling eggs on the gas stove to have breakfast when it exploded with a huge blast. After the explosion, the raging fire engulfed two other coaches also.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan Railways has ruled out chances of terrorism and stating that fire was erupted due to blast of cooking cylinder however authorities are mum to answer that how did cooking cylinder were allowed inside train.
Tablighi Jamaat eye witness on #Tezgam contradicts claim of #SheikhRasheed that #TablighiJamaat members were responsible for the fire. Says fire caused by short circuit and safety system of the train was completely dysfunctional. #TezgamExpress pic.twitter.com/AGMO5UO4rJ
— Islamabad 🇵🇰 (@Islaamabad) October 31, 2019
According to passengers, short circuit in coaches was cause of fire and Emergency Brake Chains and levers were not working therefore Train continued to travel despite of fire in coaches for several kilometres. Passengers also claimed that there was no fire extinguisher equipment on train.
To assist civil administration, Pakistan army troops including doctors and paramedics moved to the incident site for rescue and relief operation. The army aviation helicopter flown from Multan to incident site to evacuate critical injured.
Terrible Tezgam train tragedy with gas cylinder carried by passenger exploding. Prayers and condolences go to the victims families. A tragedy that could have been avoided but ever since I can recall while travelling by train no baggage check or restrictions enforced. Tragic.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) October 31, 2019
Sharing brotherly #Pakistan‘s sorrow, wishing Allah’s mercy upon those who have lost their lives in a fire on a train and speedy recovery to those who were injured. @SMQureshiPTI
Will always stand by you. 🇹🇷🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/wYD4CHLNgl
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) October 31, 2019