7 killed in fire on passenger train in Pakistan

Karachi: At least seven people, including three children and a woman, were killed when a fire broke out in a coach of an express train in Pakistan’s Sindh province, an official said on Thursday.

The incident happened on late Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a business-class coach of the Karachi Express train shortly after midnight as it travelled from Karachi to Lahore.

Maqsood Kundi, a spokesperson for the Pakistan Railways, said that they were still trying to ascertain how the fire started in the carriage which was later delinked from the rest of the train.

“So far the number of deaths from the incident has touched 7 with three children in it. A woman also died in the incident. The Ministry of Railways has ordered a high-level probe into it,” Kundi said.

He said that as soon as the information regarding the incident was received, the train was immediately stopped near Tando Masti Khan station and an emergency was reported to the fire brigade.

The first fire-fighting vehicles reached the spot at around 1:50 am and after a struggle of about 40 minutes, the fire was brought under control, the official said.

Train accidents happen frequently in Pakistan due to the failure of the authorities to keep up with modern times and because of a track system which needs upgrading.

In Pakistan, poor passengers often bring their own small gas stoves on the trains to cook their meals, despite rules barring the practice. Safety regulations are often ignored in overcrowded trains.

In 2019, at least 74 passengers were killed when a cooking gas stove exploded on a train in Punjab province.