Three schoolgirls die in train-van collision

The train was en route to Lahore from Sherkot


BILAL GHAURI November 17, 2021
The impact was so strong that it turned the van into a heap of mangled metal. photo: express

SHEIKHUPURA:

At least three children died on Tuesday when a train collided with a school van on the outskirts of Lahore.

The Ravi Express, travelling from Sherkot to Lahore, collided with the ill-fated vehicle, leaving many other children injured in the mishap.

Officials said the train was stopped after the incident and an investigation has been ordered by railway authorities, with divisional officers instructed to reach the accident site.

Earlier this month, Pakistan Railways announced that the operation of the Ravi Express was restored as demanded by the people.

It was originally shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

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

Earlier in June, at least 51 people died and around 100 sustained injuries when a Karachi-bound train ploughed into the derailed bogies of a Sargodha-bound express near the border between Sindh and Punjab provinces.

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Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed a deep sense of sorrow over the death of girl students in a train-van collision near Sheikhupura and directed the administration to provide the best treatment facilities to the injured. The CM has also sought a report from the administration and extended sympathies to the bereaved heirs.

Rail accidents are common in Pakistan, which inherited thousands of kilometres of track and trains from former colonial power Britain. But the network has seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

In July 2020, at least 20 Sikh pilgrims died and several others were injured on Friday in a collision between a train and a coaster in Sheikhupura.

The coaster carrying the Sikh pilgrims collided with the Lahore-bound train at a railway crossing near Sacha Soda.

Pakistan Railways spokesperson said railway and district rescue teams arrived at the scene to rescue the victims.

The injured were rushed to Sheikhupura Hospital, with some reported to be in critical condition.

The Sikh pilgrims were from Peshawar and were visiting Nankana Sahib to condole the death of a relative.

Secretary-General Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Sardar Amir Singh said the deceased belong to three or four families.

Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid ordered immediate action against those responsible for the tragic incident.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives and assured that the best medical care would be provided to those injured.

A National Assembly standing committee was recently told that there have been 384 train accidents in Pakistan since 2014: 74 in 2018-19, 67 in 2017-18, 78 in 2016-17, 76 in 2015-16, and 89 accidents in 2014-15.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2021.

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