LAHORE: Thousands of messages of sorrow and condolences poured on social media over the tragic incident in Bahawalpur, where at least 148 people were killed and 200 injured when an overturned oil tanker exploded.
Many social media users also critised the provincial government over the lack of burn units in the southern part of the province as the news of shifting the injured to other districts came in.
In the early hours of Sunday, an oil tanker overturned near Bahawalpur in the area of Ahmadpur East on KLP Road. People in the area gathered to collect the leaking fuel, which caught fire leaving several casualties and many others with severe burn wounds.
According to medics, as many as 50 people received severe burn wounds and were in critical condition.
In the explosion, as many as 75 motorcycles and several other vehicles were burnt.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minster Shehbaz Sharif visited the injured and inquired about the medical facilities being provided to them.
He visited Combined Military Hospital and Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital and met those injured in the Ahmadpur incident. “No stone would be left unturned in providing you with the best possible treatment. We can try to compensate their grief by giving them the best possible medical facilities,” he said.
However, the provincial government was criticised for its policies and the lack of medical facilities particularly in Bahawalpur, southern Punjab. People took to social media to express their sentiments over the incident.
On user wrote, “Nawaz would rather build another metro to shift patients to other cities rather than building burn centres and hospitals there”.
An angry social media user wrote, “South Punjab has no medical facilities to deal with such a calamity. Humans are not a priority for PML-N and PPP.”
After the backlash on social media, the Punjab government took to Twitter and wrote, “72 bedded Burn Center in Multan Nishtar Hospital & 24 bedded Sheikh Zayed hospital Rahim Yar Khan are dealing with critically burnt of #Bahawalpur incident.”
Condolences & sorrow
Messages for condolence and support poured in for the victims from all over the world. A condolence message by the British High Commission in Pakistan said, “Shocked and deeply saddened by the awful tragedy near #Bahawalpur.
Our thoughts are with those affected and their families”. The US Embassy said, “Our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims”.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) in a message posted on the micro-blogging site, “Bilawal Bhutto expressed deepest grief and sorrow over horrible tragedy in Ahmedpur Sharqia.”
PTI member Asad Umer tweeted, “Heart breaking tragedy near Ahmedpur Sharqia. Safety standards were clearly not followed by the oil tanker.”
Former Pakistani cricketer Inzamamul Haq tweeted, “My heart and sincere prayers goes out to the affectees of Bahawalpur oil tanker incident. Mere Allah reham!”
Ex MNA Mia Aslam tweeted, “Sad to hear about #Bahawalpur incident. Time to increase awareness about road safety measures with proper facilities.”
Ex- senator Dr Babar awan tweeted,
“Oil tanker accident kills 130 people and injures hundreds in Ahmadpur Sharqia near Bahawalpur. Where is road safety?”
Senior actor Faysal qureshi tweeted, “Paranchinar’quetta’ Bhawalpur. More than 500 families will be preparing for funerals this eid.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2017.