RAJANPUR: Three passengers, including a child, were killed and 18 others sustained injuries, eleven of them seriously, after a remote-controlled bomb planted under the rail track hit the Khushhal Khan Khattak Express near Kotla Hassan Shah, on Friday morning.
According to Rajanpur District Coordination Officer (DCO) Ghazi Amanullah, six coaches of the Peshawar-Karachi train derailed after the explosion, and four of them were damaged badly, almost 40 kilometres away from Rajanpur city. Civil defence officials said that it was a remote-controlled device, planted three feet under the track and connected by an almost 500-feet-long wire. The explosion left almost a five-foot deep crater at the site. The officials did not give more details, saying investigations were in progress.
“At least three people were killed and 20 others were wounded when a bomb exploded in one of the compartments of (the) Khushhal Khan Khattak express,” senior police official Zahid Mehmood Gondal told AFP. Eight train wagons fell from the track which was going from Peshawar to Karachi, he added. Railways police official Raja Zaheer Arshad also confirmed the blast and casualties. Nobody immediately claimed the responsibility for the bombing, he added. Some of the injured were identified as Abdul Ghaffar, Zakia, Saba, Zakia, Safeer Khan, Razina, Qudrat Khan, Hassan Taraj, Naz Bibi, Harris, and Sayed Gul Hassan .
Railways officials said that eighteen passengers were injured and eleven of them were admitted to DHQ Hospital by Rescue 1122 due to serious condition. The rest of the seven injured passengers were discharged after first aid, hospital sources said. The incident occurred at around 9:35 am on Friday morning, near Mouza Kotla Hassan Shah on the rail track between Umarkot and Kot Mithan railway stations. Two relief trains were dispatched from Multan and Sukkur to the blast site, while technical teams of Railways Multan, Lahore, DG Khan and Sukkur were engaged in restoring the damaged track.
Meanwhile, officials said that the passengers of the train were being transported to Kashmore by vehicles and buses of police, educational institutions, Rescue 1122 and others. They would board a train at Kashmore to reach Karachi.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has announced Rs 500,000 each in compensation for families of the dead and Rs 100,000 for each injured person. According to a Pakistan Railways spokesman, a three-member enquiry committee has been constituted for investigation, which will present its report within four days. The train operation continues as per schedule on the Karachi-Peshawar section, he added.
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