LIAQUATPUR: The death toll from a fire in three bogies of a Tezgam train near Liaquatpur city jumped to 73 around 1pm, while many remain under critical condition, Rahim Yar Khan district government said on Thursday.
About 40 people, including women and children, were injured, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told AFP earlier.
The dead and injured are being shifted to DHQ Hospital in Liaquatpur. Some of the injured have also been shifted to Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur due to their critical condition.
The train was bound for Rawalpindi from Karachi. The fire was caused by a cylinder blast that occurred in the morning when some passengers were preparing their breakfast, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said, adding that they belonged to a tableeghi jamaat and were headed towards Raiwand.
Many people saved their lives by jumping off the train, the minister said.
In a video message, Railways Minister Rashid announced that a compensation of Rs1.5 million will be paid to the heirs of the deceased while Rs500,000 will be provided to those who are injured. He travelled to the scene of the incident and will meet families of the victims and the injured.
He said that two of the coaches that caught fire were booked under the name of the tableeghi jamaat’s emir Hussain. The ministry, he said, was preparing a list of the victims. Rashid said that it was a “failure” on the part of the Railways authorities since they failed to carry out thorough checking of the passengers’ luggage.
Later, in a press conference, the railways minister said that 134 trains had been making a minute-long stop for passengers in Raiwind. “The whole world earns from freight and we are the only ones who earn from passengers,” he said, adding that the ministry was now earning upto Rs180-190 million versus the previous Rs130 million figure. “And then this tragedy unfolded.”