A teenager died and six people were injured in two road accidents at around 7am on Tuesday morning both involving buses carrying students of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU). Dozens of people, including family members of the deceased, gathered and torched the bus that had hit the teenager. The university has called an inquiry into the accidents.
Police said Shehzad, 16, a welder by profession, was travelling on his motorcycle towards the city when a bus, apparently outsourced by the BZU, ran him over near Nankana Chowk. Shehzad was badly injured and Rescue-1122 officials took him to a hospital but he died on the way there.
Dozens of people, including the victim’s friends and family, gathered around the bus and poured petrol on it and set it alight. A Rescue-1122 team rushed to put out the fire but the bus was completely charred.
The bus driver ran away right after the incident. Gulgasht DSP arrived at the scene and told the protesters they would take strict action against the bus driver.
The BZU police chief said they had registered an FIR against the bus driver. He said they would also take action against the protesters who had torched the bus.
Shahzad is the 9th person to have died in 2015-16 in an accident involving a BZU bus.
At around the same time, a bus owned by the BZU hit a motorcycle-rickshaw near Gaddafi Chowk on Basti Shorkot Road in a New Multan police precinct. The rickshaw driver and five passengers were badly injured.
New Multan police took the driver into custody and seized the bus. Police said they would register a case if one the injured filed a complaint against him.
Later during the day, the BZU administration announced that they would constitute an inquiry committee on Wednesday to probe the two accidents involving university buses.
BZU Transport Committee Chairman Nazim Labar said the bus which had hit Shahzad had been outsourced. He said the driver had been hired by the person who owned the bus. The varsity paid him Rs6,600 daily to pick and drop BZU, Labar said.
He said that bus had been set alight by protesters.
The bus which had hit the motorcycle rickshaw belonged to the BZU, Labar said. There were seven people travelling in the rickshaw, six of them were injured. “Their condition is stable and their injuries minor.”
Labar said that any driver responsible for a road accident was automatically suspended. “In this case, we will let the inquiry committee arrive at a decision.”
In Sargodha, two people died in road accidents in Jhal Chakian and Shahpur police precincts on Tuesday. Police said Haq Nawaz, 60, a resident of Mehboob Colony, was travelling on a motorcycle when a speeding tractor trolley hit the bike near Shahpur City police station on Sargodha Road. Nawaz died and the driver fled.
Separately, a speeding van ran over 12-year-old Samina (12) while she was crossing Khushab Road. The van driver sped off.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2016.