SHEIKHUPURA: At least 14 people were killed and one person was injured when a rickshaw collided with a train near Sheikhupura on Saturday, reported Express News.
The train, Karakoram Express, was on its way from Lahore to Karachi when it met an accident with the rickshaw which was reportedly carrying around 25 people – mainly women and children.
"The accident occurred in Khanpur town of district Sheikhupura, around 40 kilometres northwest of Lahore," Salim Niazi, a local police official, told AFP.
Officials said at least two children were among the dead.
"Twelve people died on the spot. Four people with critical injuries were taken to hospital, of whom two expired," Muhammad Asim, a senior doctor at the local hospital, told AFP.
"Two of them were children under 12 years old," he said adding that many bodies were mutilated and unable to be identified.
Police said the rickshaw was over-capacity and drove onto the train track moments before the Lahore-bound train passed through, smashing into it.
"There was no gate at this crossing, (nor) a man to stop the traffic to clear a way for the train," said Niazi.
An eyewitness said that the passengers in the rickshaw were travelling to a mazaar in the area to attend a mela and there were no gates on the railway crossing.
The police and rescue teams reached the spot later on.
Federal Minister for Pakistan Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Saturday that the beneficiaries of the railway crossing tragedy will be given Rs500,000 compensation by the Punjab government.
While addressing a press conference at Lahore Railway Headquarters, he said, “The loss of 14 lives due to rickshaw driver’s negligence is a tragedy”.
“The responsibility of closing down of unmanned railway crossings lies with the government – whether it is federal government or provincial government.”
“There was a board that stated the rule clearly, near the crossing, but sadly, due to illiteracy in the country most people don’t know these simple rules,” he said.
“The accident took place due to some fault in the overloaded rickshaw,” Rafique added.
He also said that by holding each other responsible we will make it even more complicated and will not be able to reach a solution.
Talking about the solutions, he said that an investigation team has been formed that will submit its report within 24 hours.
Government will issue permit to construct a flyover or an underpass on the main railway line, he said.
“None of the department, provincial or district, will be allowed to make temporary railway crossings,” he added.
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