DNA samples of 57 train fire victims sent to Lahore for identification


RAHIM YAR KHAN: Forensic experts in Lahore on Saturday were supplied with DNA samples of 57 unidentified victims – who had lost their lives in tragic train fire incident near Rahim Yar Khan on Thursday – for their identifications, a process which medical officials claim would take ten days.

The DNA tests are compulsory to identify the charred bodies before they can be handed over to relatives for burial.

Those who were injured in the incident are undergoing treatment at Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Bahawal Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur and Nishtar Hospital, Multan while two injured persons have been discharged from the Sheikh Zayed Hospital after rehabilitation.

Further, police have filed a case against unidentified persons whereas investigation teams have collected pieces of evidence from the site of the incident. Forensic experts are being considered to be made a part of the ongoing interrogations as well. The final list issued by the concerned authorities revealed that 74 persons died in the inferno while 42 sustained wounds.

The Tezgam Express caught fire due to gas exploded gas canisters used by Tableeghi Jamaat passengers to cook breakfast near Talwari Station in Liaquatpur area of Rahim Yar Khan. The train was bound from Karachi to Rawalpindi. The deadly inferno destroyed three coaches of the train.

Television footage showed unforgiving flames rising out of the carriages as people could be heard crying right outside. Some commuters died and several were also injured when they jumped from the moving train in a bid to escape the flames.

Survivors said it took nearly 20 minutes for the train to stop, amid contradictory reports about whether the train’s brakes and the safety cords were working or not.

Many of the victims were members of the Tableeghi Jamaat that was travelling to Lahore for their annual congregation.

The train was carrying 857 passengers, including 550 members of the preaching group. The fire apparently erupted in two compartments where Tableeghi Jamaat members were seated.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said that measures would be taken to ensure that anyone carrying cooking stoves or gas cylinders was not allowed onboard in the future. “We admit our mistake and I assure you, this will not happen next time,” he said while talking to the media.