Pakistan Train and Van Collided Leaving 19 Pilgrims Dead

Friday, July 3, 2020, 4:20 PM GMT-5

Alongside a railway track, residents gather around the wreckage of a van following an accident on July 3, 2020 between a train and the van transporting Sikh pilgrims in Farooqabad area in Sheikhupura district of the Pakistan’s Punjab province. Approximately 19 Sikh pilgrims from one family were killed on that day when the train crashed into a van in the east of Pakistan, officials reported.

As the driver travelled across an unmanned level crossing the vehicle was hit by an incoming train close to the small city of Farooqabad. 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Pakistan Train and Van Collided Leaving 19 Pilgrims Dead

  He directed relevant authorities to ensure facilitation and care for all the families. Before he ordered that the entire railway operational safety SOPs should be reviewed immediately,” he stated in a tweet.  

After the passenger train crashed into the bus that carried Sikh pilgrims at an unmanned railway crossing in eastern Pakistan, killing at least 19 people and injuring several others.

The accident happened on Friday in Sheikhupura district in Punjab province,  Imran Gondal, a Pakistani government official whose department oversees Sikh pilgrimages made the report.

Officials said the pilgrims were from the northwestern city of Peshawar and were returning from the Sheikupura-based shrine of Nankana Sahib when the crash happened. 

Ghazi Salahuddin, the district police chief, said the dead and injured were taken to a nearby hospital and 19 persons were confirmed dead.

 Pakistan Railways spokeswoman Quratul Ain said, the crossing was unmanned and the driver rushed onto the tracks, she also added that the passengers were all Sikh pilgrims.

No train passengers were injured, but 8 passengers are in critical condition in hospital at this time.

Local police spokesman Wajid Abbas confirmed the dead were all from the same family and that eight other people were in critical condition at hospital. No train passengers were injured.

Pakistan’s railway minister immediately called for an investigation into the crash.

Pakistan had a long history of train accidents because of poor infrastructure and lack of safety standards in most cases.

In February, about 20 people were killed when a train crashed with a bus in Sindh in the southern province.

In July, 2019 about 73 people died when a fire began on a train carriage.

In Pakistan Sikhs have many shrines of their religious leaders. One, of the Sikh founder Guru Nanak, is located in Pakistan’s Kartarpur, bordering India, in Punjab. It was built after his death.

Many of the Sikh holy sites became a part of Pakistan after the British divided the subcontinent into Pakistan and India, in 1947 following two centuries of colonial rule.

The connection between the hostile neighboring countries deteriorated quickly after India took back the disputed Kashmir region’s semi-autonomous status early in August.

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