LAHORE: At least 19 Sikh pilgrims lost their lives as a passenger bus rammed into the Shah Hussain Express train on Friday, according to rescue officials.
It was learnt that 22 of a Sikh family were in the coaster, who were travelling from Peshawar to Nankana Sahib to attend a funeral.
According to rescue officials, the driver of the coaster tried to take the path from the railway crossing instead of the road, after which the vehicle collided with the Lahore-bound train near Farooqabad railway station.
Railway officials said the accident took place at a train crossing without a barrier. All the wounded have been shifted to a nearby hospital, added officials.
Deputy Secretary Shrine Evacuee Trust Property Board, Imran Gondal, said that all the Sikh pilgrims were Pakistani nationals and residents of Peshawar.
Gondal said that the bodies of the accident victims were shifted to Mayo Hospital Lahore, while the wounded are hospitalised in Sheikhupura and Lahore.
A few among the wounded are reportedly in a critical condition and receiving treatment at the District Headquarters hospital in Sheikhupura.
It was reported that the wounded were given first aid by locals at the time of the accident.
PM Imran, president express grief over accident
Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed profound grief over the loss of precious lives in the train-coach accident in Sheikhupura.
The prime minister directed authorities to provide best medical treatment to the wounded.
Following the accident, President Dr Arif Alvi also expressed grief over the loss of lives, urging the officials to provide best facilities to the affectees of the incident.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar also expressed sorrow, saying that he deeply sympathises with the victims. He gave directions for provision of best treatment to the wounded.
After the accident, the district administration also established a control room at the deputy commissioner’s office.
Train collision incidents have been alarmingly common in Pakistan.
On February 28, at least 19 people were killed when a train collided with a passenger bus near Rohri in Sindh.
Last year, on July 11, a Quetta-bound train had collided with a cargo train near Sadiqabad in Punjab, killing 24 people and injuring over 100. The accident was later found to be caused by a delay in switching the train tracks.
In a similar incident, 12 children had been injured when a passenger train crashed into a school van near Narowal, Punjab, in December 2018. Local witnesses had said the accident happened due to dense fog and because the gate at the crossing was left open.
Apart from these three collision incidents in the past two years alone, scores more have perished in train derailments, fires and explosions during the same period.