QUETTA: At least four people were killed and 31 others injured on Sunday when a remote-controlled bomb exploded on a railway line near Dera Murad Jamali. The incident occurred while a Quetta-bound train was passing by.
The deceased were identified as Noor Bano and her 10-year-old daughter Sadia from Dera Allahyar, Shahzad Malik from Gujranwala, and Tahir Malik of Bahawalpur. Bano was accompanied by her husband who is severely injured. The bodies were sent to their native towns.
“A bogey overturned and other bogies derailed, resulting in the death of four people and injuries to 31 others,” said District Police Officer Irfan Bashir. He added that explosive weighing around 10 kilogrammes was used in the remote-controlled blast.
According to Railway officials, the Quetta-bound Jaffar Express after a brief stop at Dera Murad Jamali left for its next destination and when it reached the Rabi Canal area of Naseerabad district, a powerful explosion took place at the railway track.
The officials also said as many as seven bogies of the train were derailed and a big portion of the track was damaged.
Law enforcement agencies, including police and Frontier Corps (FC) rushed to the site and cordoned off the area and started rescue operations. Nasirabad Deputy Commissioner Qurban Magsi, FC commandant Anjum Shakeel and DPO Irfan Anjum were present at the site.
Emergency was declared in Dera Murad Jamali district headquarters hospital (DHQ). “We have received four bodies and 31 injured in the hospital,” DHQ medical superintendent Dr Ayaz Hussain Jamali said, adding that the condition of some injured was serious who were later referred to Quetta and Larkana for treatment.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has condemned the incident, terming it a cowardly act where innocent people were targeted. He said that the elements involved in the barbarian act wanted to please their masters sitting aboard.
In his message, Kamal said: “The government and the people of Balochistan would not bow down before such elements and deal with them with iron hand”.
He expressed his grief over the death of four persons, including a woman and her young daughter, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to task.
The CM also instructed the officials concerned to further beef up security of all railway tracks and highways leading to different areas of the country.
Reacting to the incident, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said targeting trains and passengers is a dastardly act of terrorists that needed to be condemned.
In a statement, he said the state would deal with terrorists with heavy hand. Rashid said relief and rescue operation was being continued at the site of the blast.
He said patrolling of rail tracks will be made effective in cooperation with law enforcing agencies.
In the wake of the incident, the train service was suspended between Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. All incoming and outgoing passenger trains were stopped at Jacobabad and Sibi stations.
A relief train reached at the blast site from Sukkur Railways division along with engineers and heavy machinery to clearer the main track for restoring rail traffic.
“Around 400 feet long portion of the railway track was completely destroyed in the blast while a bogey carrying passengers badly damaged,” a senior railway official in Quetta said, adding that heavy machinery was brought for removal of the damaged bogies.
He added that engineers and other staff would replace the damaged track after removing wreckage of the destroyed bogies. “Restoring rail traffic between Quetta and rest of the country would take at least 36 hours,” the officials said.