MULTAN/BAHAWALPUR: As the death toll in the Ahmadpur Sharqia oil tanker blaze rose to 177 till 8pm on Thursday, National Highway and Motorway Police authorities suspended six officers, including a deputy superintendent of police, for negligence and keeping their senior officers in dark (when the oil tanker overturned and caught fire).

According to an official handout issued by NH&MP spokesman Syed Imran Ahmad, the officers have been suspended on the recommendation of the departmental inquiry committee probing into the incident on the basis of technical data.

“DSP Rizwan Shah, inspector Abdul Samad, sub-inspectors Wajid Ali, Taqi Haider, Irfan Shah and junior patrolling official Umar Husain Shah have been suspended from their posts with immediate effect over their negligence and hiding facts from senior officers,” the handout stated.

It said strict punishment had been recommended against the suspended officers in the departmental action.

Chief minister forms inquiry team

“The accountability process of the department is very strict and no one can escape it,” the handout stated.

INQUIRY: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has constituted a four-member inquiry committee to investigate the Ahmadpur Sharqia inferno.

Chief Minister’s Inspection Team Chairman Irfan Ali is head of the committee while former inspector general of police Tariq Saleem Dogar, the Punjab Transport Department secretary and the Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 director general are its members.

The body will investigate the incident from every aspect. It will also review the steps adopted by local police, motorway police and the administration concerned after the incident.

This committee will examine what steps were taken by the officials of these departments after they arrived at the spot. It will present its report to the chief minister in five days.

TOLL: Nishtar Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr Mustafa Kamal Pasha confirmed that 34 patients had so far lost their lives in Nishtar Hospital. Eleven of them expired on Thursday.

He said nine-year-old Muskan, in better condition now, had been shifted to the Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur for followup treatment Quaid-i-Azam Principal and BVH CEO Prof Dr Ijlal Haider Rizvi told Dawn at 8pm on Thursday that the death toll had risen to 177.

Sources said two patients expired in Jinnah Hospital on Thursday.

More than 120 people had died on the spot on Sunday morning when the tanker carrying petrol overturned and people gathered around it to collect leaking fuel. More than 100 injured with maximum burns were shifted to Bahawal Voctoria Hospital, Nishrat Hospital and Jinnah Hospital Lahore.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2017

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