SHEIKHUPRA: A collision involving trains occurred near Qila Sattar Shah Station in Punjab’s Sheikhupura district on Sunday, resulting in injuries to at least 31 passengers.
Sources report that the Lahore-bound passenger train, originating from Mianwali, was traveling on the same track as a freight train, leading to the collision. Despite the train driver’s efforts to avoid the crash, it proved futile.
Rescue personnel confirmed that 31 passengers on board the train sustained injuries, with five of them being transferred to the district headquarters hospital. Railway officials have initiated rescue operations at the accident site and launched an investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, a railway spokesperson issued a statement, assuring the smooth operation of train services in the Lahore division after the collision. The spokesperson added that the track was cleared at 7:30 am following the accident and that the Mianwali Express had been dispatched with all passengers on board safe.
The spokesperson also disclosed that four railway officials, including train driver Imran Sarwar and his assistant Muhammad Bilal, have been suspended. An inquiry commission led by a deputy principal officer has been established, with a report expected within 24 hours, according to the spokesperson.
The chairman of railways stated that legal action would be taken against those accountable for the incident, emphasizing the paramount importance of passenger safety, a sentiment echoed by CEO Railways Shahid Aziz.
It is worth noting that a day prior, four bogies of a freight train had derailed near the same railway station. Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif expressed condolences over the incident and called for action against those responsible.
Pakistan’s aging rail system has been plagued by frequent accidents, prompting successive governments to seek funding for network upgrades under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Over the past decade, the country has experienced numerous fatal train accidents, with their frequency seemingly increasing in recent years.
In August of this year, a derailment near Sahara Railway Station in Sindh’s Nawabshah district resulted in the death of at least 56 people and injuries to a dozen others on the Havelian-bound Hazara Express.
Following the incident, then-railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique announced the suspension of six railway officials whose negligence contributed to the accident.