Blast inside Karachi-bound Shalimar Express kills toddler

Published August 5, 2013
The train, which had begun its journey from Lahore, was crossing a railway station around 1 pm when the explosion took place inside a bogie in its economy class. —File photo
The train, which had begun its journey from Lahore, was crossing a railway station around 1 pm when the explosion took place inside a bogie in its economy class. —File photo

KARACHI: Fourteen people were reported injured in an explosion that took place inside a bogie of the Karachi-bound Shalimar Express near Punjab province's Toba Tek Singh district on Monday.

Three of the injured were in critical condition.

Mohammad Hussain, medical superintendent in main Toba Tek Singh hospital told news agency AFP that a child, aged two and a half years, had succumbed to his injuries in hospital. Shehzad Asif, district police chief confirmed the death.

The train, which had begun its journey from Lahore, was crossing a railway station around 1 pm when the explosion took place inside a bogie in its economy class.

Following the blast, the train was brought to a halt and rescue teams shifted the injured to hospitals in Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh where emergency was imposed as soon as news of the explosion came.

Police and Pakistan Railways personnel arrived at the scene to inspect the area and investigate the incident.

TV footage showed the explosion had damaged the roof of the carriage but not forced the train off the rails, suggesting a relatively low-intensity blast.

Farah Masood, a senior government official in Lahore, confirmed to AFP that a locally-made explosive device was used in the explosion and that 14 people had been injured.

On the other hand, the Interior Ministry has claimed that railway authorities had been alerted with intelligence pertaining to a possible terrorist threat. The authorities had also been directed to increase security of trains in light of the information.

Speaking to media representatives in Lahore, Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the management of Shalimar Express had received calls pertaining to extortion and that Inspector General Punjab Police had been informed in this regard.

He added that 14 people had been injured in the explosion and three of the wounded were in critical condition.

Contrary to reports, there is no information of any deaths in the explosion so far, the minister said.

Rafique moreover said an investigation had been launched into the attack, calling it “an act of terrorism.”

Pakistan is battling a homegrown insurgency and faces near-daily bombings and shootings in the troubled northwest, but attacks on the railway are relatively rare.

A bomb near the waiting lounge for the luxury Lahore-Karachi Business Express train last year killed two people.

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