DNA samples of train fire victims sent to Lahore for identification.

RAHIM YAR KHAN– DNA samples of 57 unidentified victims  who lost their lives in the tragic train fire incident near Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday –  has been sent to Forensic experts in Lahore for identification. Hospital officials claim the process would take 10 days.

Moreover, two injured persons have been discharged from the Sheikh Zayed Hospital after their rehabilitation. The DNA tests are required to identify as many as 57 charred bodies before they can be handed over to relatives for burial. The unidentifiable dead bodies were shifted to Rahim Yar Khan’s Shaikh Zayed Hospital. The injured are undergoing treatment at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur and Nishtar Hospital, Multan. Police have filed a case against unidentified persons.

The investigation teams have collected evidences from the incident spot and it is being considered to make forensic experts a part of the ongoing interrogations as well. The final list issued by the concerned authorities revealed that 74 persons died in the unfortunate tragedy and 42 sustained wounds.

The Tezgam Express caught fire due to explosion in gas canisters used by Tableeghi Jamaat passengers to cook breakfast near Talwari Station in Liaquatpur area of Rahim Yar Khan. The train was bound from Karachi to Rawalpindi. The deadly inferno left three coaches of the Rawalpind-boundi Tezgam Express destroyed. Television footage showed flames pouring out of the carriages as people could be heard crying in the incident. Many passengers died and several were injured when they jumped from the moving train to escape the flames.

Survivors said it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop, amid contradictory reports about whether the train’s brakes and the safety cords were working or not. Many of the victims were members of Tableeghi Jamaat travelling to Lahore for their annual congregation. The train was carrying 857 passengers, including 550 members of the preaching group. The fire apparently started in two compartments where Tableeghi Jamaat members were riding in.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said measures would be taken to not allow anyone onboard with cooking stoves or gas cylinders in the future.

“We admit our mistake and I assure you, next time it will not happen,” he said while talking to the media.

Pakistan has old colonial era railway network and after decades of poor maintenance and under investment, it has fallen into complete despair. Accidents often happen at unmanned crossings, which frequently lack barriers and sometimes signals.

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