KALAYA, Dec 24: Seven labourers were killed in a coalmine explosion in Doli area of Orakzai tribal region in the small hours on Monday.

Local sources said that all the deceased miners belonged to Shangla district.

The blast was caused by methane gas at 2:45am at the well No.2 of Abul Hassan colliery in Doli area of lower Orakzai Agency, they added.

The deceased miners were identified as Omar Saeed and Sher Mohammad, sons of Aqal Saeed; Gul Khan and Sher Khan, sons of Rasool Khan; Mohammad Jan and Saeed Jan, sons of Faam Jan; and Jehanzada, son of Khanzada.

Their bodies were dispatched to their hometowns after carrying their postmortem at a local civil hospital.

The assistant director of mineral department, Roshan Khan Khattak, told Dawn that their rescue team reached the site of the blast at 3am after receiving information about the incident.

He said that all the bodies were retrieved from the coalmine and taken to the nearby hospital where Dr Zahid performed their postmortem. After autopsy, the bodies were handed over to officials of mineral department, he said. Later the political authorities sent the bodies to Shangla.

There are more than 4,000 coalmines in Orakzai tribal agency. Over 3,000 labourers work in these mines. Most of the coalmines in Orakzai are notorious for poor safet y standards and facilities, according to local sources.

According to official data, 165 miners have been killed this year in the tribal region.

However, local sources claim the actual death toll is higher than the reported one. They allege that most of such incidents are not reported to save the mine owners from punishment.

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