At least 14 people were killed and 62 injured in a train collision in northeastern Pakistan on Thursday morning, officials and local media reported.
The accident, the latest in a series of similar incidents, occurred in Punjab’s Sadiqabad district — some 543 kilometers (337 miles) from the provincial capital Lahore — when a passenger train collided with a freight train parked on a parallel track, Deputy Commissioner Sadiqabad Jamil Ahmad told reporters.
Railway Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad told reporters an inquiry had been ordered into the accident.
Amateur footage on local Geo TV showed rescue workers moving the bodies and injured into ambulances, which rushed them to hospitals.
City Police Chief Umer Farooq told reporters that the incident seemed to be result of a signal error as the driver of the passenger train suddenly changed tracks and hit a parked freight train.
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed sympathy with the victims’ families and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
“Saddened to learn of train accident in Sadiqabad. My condolences to the victims’ families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards,” Khan said in a tweet.
Saddened to learn of train accident in Sadiqabad. My condolences to the victims families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure & ensure safety standards.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 11, 2019
In another Thursday morning accident, 13 people were killed and several injured when a passenger bus overturned in Attock, Punjab, Geo News reported.
Pakistan has a long history of train and road accidents, mainly due to poor infrastructure and a lack of safety standards.
Social Media calls for resignation
As news of the train collision broke and condemnations started pouring, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced that Rs. 1.5 million would be paid to the families of those who had lost their lives.
However, social media went abuzz with criticism of the minister who is known for his flamboyant political commentary. Citizens said that the repeated train incidents were solely the responsibility of Rasheed and perhaps a change in the ministry was warranted.
— Fahad Ch.❤(Official) (@fahadthespeaker) July 11, 2019
Don't remember an era where so many train accidents happened. Sheikh Rasheed MUST resign…
That is what we would've asked from Saad Rafique, No?
— H Shah (@H_Shahh) July 11, 2019
Anadolu with additional input from GVS News desk