Two dead, six injured after passenger van catches fire

Updated May 03 2017

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A man stands next to the charred remains of the vehicle. — INP
A man stands next to the charred remains of the vehicle. — INP

RAWALPINDI: Two persons, including a two-year-old girl, died and six other passengers were injured after the van they were travelling in caught fire on Chakri Road near the Chahan village in Jatli on Tuesday, police said.

Faizul Haq, 45, the van driver, was among the burn victims who were shifted to the Holy Family Hospital (HFH).

The deceased were identified as Aurangzaib, 50, and Alisha, 2.

The girl was travelling with her grandmother Lal Bibi, 45, to Harial village from Rawalpindi.

Aurangzaib, who had suffered 100pc burns, was shifted to the Holy Family Hospital where he died later in the night.

The van caught fire, apparently because of a short circuit, as it passed Chahan village around 12:30pm.

Police said 15 passengers, including the driver, were in the vehicle. Seven passengers were trapped in the vehicle while the rest managed to escape.

The injured included 35-year-old Mohammad Shabir who sustained 80pc burn injuries, Faizul Haq who suffered 30pc burns and 30-year-old Aftab Ahmed who received 10pc burns.

Lal Bibi and her granddaughter both sustained 5pc burn injuries, but the toddler died due to a head injury, a police official said.

A hospital doctor also said that while her burn injuries were minor and not life-threatening, the infant died because of an internal head injury.

Jatli Station House Officer Tanveer Ahmed said the child had already been unwell.

The police’s preliminary investigation suggested that there had been a gas cylinder affixed to the van, but it had been disconnected and the driver was using petrol.

The van’s front was also badly damaged in the fire, which also disputed the claim that the fire was caused by a gas cylinder explosion.

Undertrial prisoner escapes

Separately, an undertrial prisoner suspected of involvement in kidnapping and terrorism managed to disappear, along with a police official who was guarding him at the district courts on Tuesday, police said.

Identified as Mohammad Khatir, the suspect was being tried for kidnapping for ransom and possessing an illegal weapon. The case was registered with the Naseerabad police last year and brought to the court of civil judge Imran Ameer on Tuesday. The suspect was being guarded by Assistant Sub-Inspector Aslam and Constable Mohammad Amjad.

Police said that after his court proceedings, the handcuffed prisoner was brought out of the court by the constable and they were waiting from the prisoner van to take them back to Adiala jail when they went missing.

After searches for both individuals failed, a case was registered with the Civil Lines police against the prisoner and the police official. Neither individual had been located by the time this report was filed.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2017