At least 73 people were killed and several others injured when a train from Karachi to Rawalpindi caught fire in Pakistan's east Punjab province on Thursday, Geo news reported.
The incident happened when a gas cylinder being carried by a passenger exploded in the passenger train, Tezgam near the city area of Liaquatpur, a Pakistan Railways official said.
The injured have been shifted to DHQ Liaquatpur and Bahawalpur, said Ameer Taimoor Khan, DPO Rahim Yar Khan.
As per Geo news sources, 10 of the dead bodies have been identified. Whereas, identity of the other deceased persons is yet to be ascertained.
Confirming the death toll, Baqir Hussain, Head of the district rescue service said the dead bodies will be identified through DNA.
According to reports, the passengers were cooking breakfast when the blast occurred. Two adjoining coaches were engulfed in the raging fire.
The fire destroyed three of the train carriages, including two economy class carriages and one business class.
Pakistan Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed said: "Two cooking stoves blew up. They were cooking, they had (cooking) oil which added fuel to fire."
"Most deaths occurred when people jumped off the train," he said.
He added, men from a "Tableeghi Jammat" were travelling in the carriage where the incident occurred. "Bogies were severely damaged by the fire and they have been detached from the rest of the train," he said.
Rasheed added the fire had been extinguished and cooling efforts were underway.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while expressing his condolences, directed the authorities to ensure the provision of best medical treatment for the injured.
Deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of the Tezgam train. My condolences go to the victims' families & prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. I have ordered an immediate inquiry to be completed on an urgent basis.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 31, 2019
President Dr. @ArifAlvi expressed profound grief on the loss of precious lives in the tragic blast caused by gas cylinder in Tezgam train in Rahimyar Khan today.— The President of Pakistan (@PresOfPakistan) October 31, 2019
He prayed for the departed souls and the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
This is the second major train accident in Pakistan this year. In July, 24 people were killed, when the Akbar Bugti Express travelling from Lahore to Quetta collided with a stationary freight train at the Walhar Railway Station in Sadiqabad Tehsil of Punjab province.
Pak train fire: Eyewitnesses say short-circuit caused fire
A passenger of Tezgam train has disputed the statements of Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed that the incident took place due to gas cylinders carried by Tablighi Jamaat members.
In a video that went viral, the eyewitness claimed that the fire could not be attributed to the gas cylinder blast as all the cylinders were emptied at the station.
The fire broke out in the AC sleeper where the cylinders were not allowed, he said adding that they were told by railway personnel that it was infact due to a short circuit in the ceiling fan, the Pakistani media reported.
He claimed the fan had not been repaired for the past four days.
The eye witness added, there were no fire extinguishers in the carriages and rejected the railways minster's statement that tableeghi jamaat passengers were behind the incident.
At least 73 people were killed and dozens wounded after a passenger train erupted in flames in central Pakistan on Thursday enroute to Rawalpindi from Karachi.