Published: Fri, November 01, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

65 killed as fire engulfs Karachi-Rawalpindi Tezgam express in Pakistan's Liaqatpur

65 killed as fire engulfs Karachi-Rawalpindi Tezgam express in Pakistan's Liaqatpur

A train burns near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province, Pakistan October 31, 2019, in this still image take from video.

Government officials said a gas canister exploded, which passengers were using to cook breakfast.

It is one of Pakistan's oldest and most popular train services, which runs daily and covers the distance between Karachi and Rawalpindi in 25-and-a-half hours.

Sharing details about the inferno, Rashid said, "The train caught fire near Rahim Yar Khan, not because of the negligence of the ministry but because people do not obey the laws". According to Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed, two stoves blew nearly instantly. "They were cooking, they had (cooking) oil which added fuel to fire".

A train fire in southern Pakistan has killed more than 60 people.

Almost 40 people were injured, many with serious burns, he said.

Authorities say the fire broke out while some of the passengers were preparing breakfast on cooking gas stoves they had brought aboard in violation of rules.

Pakistani army helicopters have also been dispatched to the site to transfer the injured.

"Prayers and condolences go to the victims' families", tweeted human rights minister Shireen Mazari. Khan said he has ordered an immediate investigation of the incident.

At least three wagons were engulfed in flames and people began to jump from the still moving train.

In a step to provide best healthcare facilities to the injured of Tezgam Express incident, the Punjab government on Thursday declared emergency at public sector hospitals in Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan, ARY News reported.

The train was bound for Rawalpindi from Karachi.

The affected bogies have been separated from the train, said the PR official. Many Pakistanis carry food on long journeys, but gas cylinders are banned aboard trains.

The fire is the worst disaster on Pakistan's railway system in almost 15 years, Reuters reported.

Thursday's tragedy underscores how Pakistan's dilapidated train system is badly in need of repairs and maintenance.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

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