19 Sikh pilgrims die in train crash in eastern Pakistan

by Akeem Alao

Not less 19 pilgrims have been died in a passenger train crash in eastern Pakistan.

According to official reports, the train crashed into a bus carrying Sikh pilgrims at an unmanned railway crossing.

While disclosing this in a statement on Friday July 3, 2020, Imran Gondal, a Pakistani government official whose department oversees Sikh pilgrimages, stated that several others were injured in the accident that took place in Sheikhupura district in Punjab.

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

“A total of 19 people were confirmed dead,” Gondal said, adding that there 22 passengers in the bus.

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

“The crossing was unmanned and the driver of the van took a hasty decision by driving onto the tracks,” Pakistan Railways spokeswoman Quratul Ain said.

He added that the passengers were all Sikh pilgrims.

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

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

“I have directed relevant authorities to ensure facilitation and care for all the families. Our entire railway’s operational safety SOPs will be reviewed immediately,” he tweeted.

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