The Pakistan Railways completed the relief operation at the accident site and restored the tracks on Tuesday According to the PR spokesperson, the final number of the dead and injured would be released soon. After the restoration of the Up track, train operation restarted with the run of Bahauddin Zakaria Express train. The work on the down track is underway which will be restored soon.
It is pertinent to mention here that Minister Railways Azam Khan Swati, Chairman Railway Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani and CEO Railways Nisar Ahmed Memon supervised the relief operation till its completion.
At least 56 people were killed and over 87 others injured in the accident between Reti and Daharki railway stations where eight carriages of Millat Express derailed just before Sir Syed Express rammed into them near Dharki, a city located in the Ghotki district of upper Sindh early Monday morning.
The rescue operation was completed and the track has been cleared after retrieving 17 coaches that had been damaged by the crash and the engine of the train, said Divisional Superintendent, Railway Sukkur Tariq Latif. “The up and down track has been restored. We have received orders to resume train service,” he said.
Minister for Railways Azam Swati said if his resignation meant the dead can come back to life, he was ready to do so even as he promised a comprehensive inquiry. He said that train tracks in the Sukkur Division were in poor condition. “We have to find out now who is responsible for this accident,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari demanded an immediate inquiry into the train tragedy. He said that ever since the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power in 2018, train tragedies have become more frequent, while government’s ministers are busy doing politics over them.
Other Opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Monday demanded a parliamentary debate over the accident.
The convener of the standing committee’s sub-committee on railways, Ramesh Lal, and MQM’s Sabir Hussain Kaim Khani admitted that the railways authorities failed to take timely action in spite of being repeatedly apprised of the poor train-safety.
Train accidents are common in Pakistan and dozens of people lose their lives every year. The railways have seen decades of decline due to graft, mismanagement and lack of investment.
According to a senior former railways official, such accidents happen from time to time all over Pakistan as the railways network remains outdated in many places.”In some areas, they are still using the same network and tracks which were laid before the Partition,” one former official said.
In July 2020, at least 20 people were killed when the Shah Hussain Express train rammed into a coaster near Sheikhupura in Punjab. Around 30 people were travelling on the vehicle from Nankana Sahib to Peshawar, out of whom 13 males and seven females died in the accident. The dead included 19 Sikh pilgrims and the driver of the vehicle.