GULF Reports – At least 65 people were killed and dozens wounded after a passenger train erupted in flames in central Pakistan on Thursday, a provincial minister said.
Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said that most of the victims belonged to the Tableeghi Jamaat (Islamic preachers) who were going to Lahore to attend a major annual congregation at Raiwind.
The Railways Minister said gas stoves carried by some passengers blew up when they were preparing breakfast on the speeding train in violation of rules.
“Some of the passengers started making breakfast on small gas cylinders they brought with them when they exploded and the fire engulfed the three coaches of the train,” he said.
Most deaths occurred from people jumping off the train, he added. He said the toll could rise further as more than 40 passengers have suffered severe burn injuries.
Survivors said it took the train nearly 20 minutes to come to a halt after the fire broke out and passengers began screaming for help. Some pulled at emergency cords that weave through the train to notify the conductor.
Thursday’s tragedy underscores how Pakistan’s dilapidated train system is badly in need of repairs and maintenance.