At least three coal miners died while two others were rescued when a mine collapsed in Balochistan's Dukki district on Thursday morning, District Police Officer (DPO) Sardar Hashim told DawnNewsTV.
According to the DPO, the incident took place in the Chamlang area of the district. The police official said five miners were working thousands of feet deep inside a mine, when it suddenly collapsed.
A large number of coal miners reached the site of the incident and launched rescue efforts on their own to ensure the safe recovery of the trapped miners.
However, only two miners could be rescued alive from the collapsed mine. Bodies of the three deceased miners have also been recovered.
"There are almost no safety arrangements for life security of miners," said Bakht Nawab, an official of the coal miners association in Balochistan.
The regulations framed under the Mines Act, 1923, stipulate a fairly extensive safety and labour welfare regime that must be enacted and observed at all mines.
Under this Act, the key position empowered to carry out and verify the implementation of the Act is that of the chief inspector and the inspectors appointed, pursuant to the 18th Amendment, by the provincial governments.
"Rules are mere in papers rather than in practice," said Sultan Muhammad Khan, the central leader of Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PMCLF).
According to the PMCLF, casualties from accidents among labourers working in coal mines range from 100 to 200 every year.
Coal mining has historically been fraught with hazards, which are similar to those associated with the aftermath of natural disasters: suffocation, gas poisoning, roof collapse, rock burst, gas explosions and a plethora of lung diseases, including incurable diseases like coalworker's pneumoconiosis, also known as black lung disease.
In the past eight years, more than 318 labourers working in coal mines have been killed in the course of their employment in Balochistan.
Just in the first eight months of this year, at least 50 miners have died in Balochistan and in August alone, 17 coal miners lost their lives in two separate incidents.
In one of these incidents, labourers were digging 300 feet deep in a coal mine owned by a local company in Bolan district, where they reportedly suffocated to death on account of lack of oxygen.
The other incident occurred due to an explosion in a coal mine in the Sanjdi area of Balochistan, claiming the lives of 15 labourers.
According to government sources, there are at least 20,000 labourers employed across Balochistan in 2,500 mines.