Pakistan: Passenger train smashes into derailed carriages in Sindh; Dozens dead, scores injured

A train collision involving two passenger trains in Pakistan has left at least 40 people dead and dozens injured.

A train travelling in Sindh province derailed and landed on another track, officials said. A second train packed with passengers then collided with it and overturned.

Several of the injured passengers are in a critical condition.

The accident happened in Ghotki district when the Millat Express coming from Karachi derailed, falling on to another track. It is not clear what caused the derailment.

The Sir Syed Express coming from Rawalpindi collided with it and overturned.

Specialist equipment has been brought in to help to rescue those trapped in the tangled wreckage.

A senior official in the Ghotki district, Usman Abdullah, told Reuters news agency it was hard to know how many people were still trapped in the train.

“There are about six to eight bogies [carriages] that are totally smashed… there is a sleeper train, AC [air conditioned] class, as well as economy class, in which there were between 47 to 50 people on this side and around 50 to 60 people on the other train,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “shocked” by the accident and promised a full inquiry.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that more than 100 people were injured, and it was feared the death toll would rise.

“Unfortunately, for a long time, our railway system and other departments have been deprived of the finances that should have been invested in them,” he said. “As a result, we are witnessing a deterioration in these departments.”

Train accidents are not new for Pakistan. According to the authorities, the three major causes of train accidents in Pakistan are lack of track maintenance, signal issues and older engines.

The railways are an essential mode of travel, especially among middle and lower income groups, with tracks spanning the length and breadth of Pakistan.

However, carriages are often overcrowded and many of the trains are in poor condition.

Last July 21 people were killed near Sheikhupura, Punjab province, when a train travelling from Karachi to Lahore hit a van carrying Sikh pilgrims.

In October 2019 a fire caused by a gas cylinder killed more than 70 passengers on a train travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi, and another 20 people were killed in a train crash a few months earlier, in July 2019.