Interior Ministry rules out sabotage in train accident
* Three senior PR officials, all Sarhad Railway Station staff suspended
* 42 victims identified so far
* Police registers case, nobody named
* Inquiry report within four days
ISLAMABAD: Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah on Thursday ruled out the possibility of sabotage in Wednesday’s triple train accident at Sarhad Railway Station, near Ghotki.
He told the National Assembly’s (NA) Standing Committee on Interior that preliminary investigations showed the accident had occurred because of negligence. He said the collision was very surprising and happened because either the Karachi Express’s driver fell asleep or its brakes failed.
The interior secretary said staff at Sarhad Railway Station had fled after the accident and police were searching for them.
The Pakistan Railway’s (PR) Rawalpindi and Multan divisional mechanical engineers, Sukkur Divisional Traffic Officer Mohammad Ashraf Lanjar and entire staff of Sarhad Railway Station have been suspended for negligence of duty, Railways Minister Shamim Haider told reporters at Pano Aqil Cantt CMH on Thursday.
He also told PTV that the inquiry report of the triple train crash would be presented within the next four days. Debris would be cleared off the tracks in the next 44 to 48 hours, he said, adding that currently the loop line at Sarhad Railway Station was being used for railway traffic.
He said President Musharraf had announced Rs 200,000 as compensation to the families of the dead, Rs 100,000 to the families of the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 to passengers with minor injuries.
Edhi officials told Daily Times on Thursday that the train crash death toll had increased to 170. However, Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan said on Thursday that the death toll had reached 140, with most bodies unidentifiable.
He also said military personnel were still looking through an engine and several bogies for more bodies. Army and Rangers personnel were mainly involved in the rescue operation, he said, adding that six Army Aviation helicopters and Pakistan Navy aircraft also took part.
Pakistan Army and Navy medical teams were present at the site and doctors from Karachi, Hyderabad, Bahawalpur and Multan were also arriving, he said.
A control centre had been set up at Ghotki to coordinate relief operations.
Pakistan Railways has issued a list of 42 victims who have been identified so far.
Ghotki Railways Police has registered a case into the train mishap without holding anyone responsible. “We have got registered a case. However, nobody has been nominated and investigations are underway,” Sukkur Railways Superintendent of Police Shafi Mohammad Mughal told Daily Times.
Meanwhile, relatives desperately sought news of their loved ones on Thursday as medical workers struggled to identify mangled corpses a the crash site.