Even though Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique declared the Karachi’s passenger trains collision to be a human error, the initial investigation, however, suggested that technical error was actually behind this accident, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The railways minister, while holding the driver and assistant driver of the Zakaria Express responsible for this incident, claimed that they escaped away to avoid inquiry. Both the driver and the assistant driver of Zakaria Express received injuries in this accident, and were admitted in the Pakistan Railways Hassan Hospital for treatment, he added.
At least 22 people were reportedly killed and over 60 others sustained injuries when Zakaria Express rammed into Fareed Express near Karachi’s Landhi Railway Station on Thursday.
As per reports, the angle of the investigation into the trains’ collision in Karachi has changed following the appearance of the driver and assistant driver in the Pakistan Railways-run hospital in the city. There were some reports earlier that there was a problem with the brake system of Zakaria Express.
Some railways officials, when contacted, were of the view that there was a possibility there was a problem with the brakes of Zakaria Express.
However, they maintained, that it would be clear only after an investigation that the driver or his assistant complained to the authorities concerned at the time of departure or during travel that the brakes of the train were not working properly. “We reported to the higher-ups several times that there were problems with the brakes of many trains, and there is a dire need to address this issue,” they recalled.
Another report claimed that there was a problem with the signalling system. During the investigation, it was identified that there were some railway signals in the city which often remained red or green the whole day.
However, Signal Engineer Altaf Chandio wasn’t available for comments.
Pakistan Railways Divisional Superintendent (DS) Nasir Nazeer, when approached for comments, refuted the rumours that there was a problem in the signalling system. He claimed that the railway signals in the division are working accordingly and railways’ officials monitored their performance on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.
When he was asked about the possible reason behind this horrific collision, he claimed that the accident could have taken place due to driver’s negligence and, maintained, “We can’t overlook a possibility of a technical error.”
“We have started an investigation in all directions to ascertain whether it was the negligence of the driver or the collision was due to a problem with the brakes of Zakaria Express,” the DS maintained.
Responding to a question regarding a problem with the brake system of the majority of trains, Nazeer didn’t refute this claim, but maintained that there were a few problems with some of the trains but not all of them.
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