Pakistan Railway train crashes into van carrying Sikh pilgrims, 21 dead

A train rammed into a van in north-eastern Pakistan killing at least 21 Sikh pilgrims in the Punjab province.

The Karachi-Lahore express train crashed into the van near Sheikhupura at an unmanned level crossing a little over noon today.

The dead includes 13 male and 7 female. The driver of the van is also among the deceased. Reports claim that all dead were from the same family.

The accident also injured 10 others who were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital.

No train passengers were injured in the accident.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet said, “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.”

“My condolences and prayers go to the families of the deceased. Have directed relevant authorities to ensure facilitation and care for all the families. Our entire railway’s operational safety SOPs will be reviewed immediately,” he added.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi also tweeted, “Pained by the tragic demise of Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan. My thoughts are with their families and friends in this hour of grief. I pray that those pilgrims injured recover at the earliest.”

Such accidents are frequent in Pakistan. The nation has many unmanned railway lines that run through cities, villages, roads and highways.

Few months ago a bus crossing an unmanned railway crossing in the Sindh province killed 19 people after they were rammed by a Lahore bound train.

For Pakistan Railways 2019 was its worst year in terms of safety. Close to 100 rail accidents occurred. In November last year 74 passengers were burnt alive after three coaches of a Rawalpindi bound train caught fire.