At least 14 people, including four children, lost their lives on Tuesday when a passenger van rammed into a trailer and caught fire near Chakri interchange, Rawalpindi, said motorway police.
The Rawalpindi-bound Hiace van caught fire after crashing into a trailer from behind, National Highways and Motorway Police (NH&MP) Inspector Mahmood Khokhar told DawnNews.
Firefighters doused the fire before rescuing the injured. Three children were among the five passengers who died on the spot; the remaining injured were rushed to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), Islamabad, where nine more people succumbed to their burn wounds, said Khokhar.
Two women were among the three injured who were later taken to the Combined Military Hospital, Rawalpindi, Khokhar added.
The survivors are also in a critical condition, said the NH&MP official.
The condition of the bodies is beyond recognition, so DNA tests were being carried out to ascertain the deceased's identities, he added.
Initial reports suggest that the fire erupted due to the CNG cylinders fitted in the van. The driver of the van was identified as Asif.
Officials, however, believe that the bus driver was responsible for the accident as he had allegedly fallen asleep and lost control of the vehicle.
Close to 9,000 road accidents are reported to the police every year since 2011, killing over 4,500 people on average, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.