Some tragic news coming out of Pakistan. A passenger train crashed into a bus carrying Sikh pilgrims at an unmanned railway crossing in eastern Pakistan killing 22 people. According to a statement from Imran Gondal, a Pakistani government official whose department looks after Sikh pilgrimages, five people were also injured in the accident that took place on Friday in Sheikhupura district in Punjab province.
Officials said the pilgrims were from the northwestern city of Peshawar and were returning from the Sheikupura-based shrine of Nankana Sahib when the crash happened.
According to Gondal, the death toll included 20 Sikh pilgrims, the driver and the driver's assistant. A four-year-old was among those killed in the accident. Ghazi Salahuddin, the district police chief, said the dead and injured were taken to a nearby hospital.
Pakistan Railways spokeswoman Quratul Ain said that the passengers were all Sikh pilgrims. "The crossing was unmanned and the driver of the van took a hasty decision by driving onto the tracks".
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
Deeply saddened at the accident this afternoon at a railway crossing near Sheikhupura which resulted in the death of atleast 20 people, mainly Sikh pilgrims returning from Nankana Sahib. Have directed that proper medical care be provided to the injured.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 3, 2020
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the tragic incident via Twitter.
Pained by the tragic demise of Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan. My thoughts are with their families and friends in this hour of grief.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 3, 2020
I pray that those pilgrims injured recover at the earliest.
Images broadcast on local television showed the mangled van on the train tracks.
Pakistan's railway minister called for an immediate investigation into the crash.
Photo courtesy of AlJazeera.