Four killed as railway track blown up

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NASIRABAD: A policeman examines damaged carriages of Jaffar Express after the bomb blast.—AP
NASIRABAD: A policeman examines damaged carriages of Jaffar Express after the bomb blast.—AP

DERA MURAD JAMALI /QUETTA: Four passengers of Jaffar Express, including a woman and her 10-year-old daughter, were killed and over 30 others injured in a bomb blast at a railway track near Dera Murad Jamali on Sunday.

The Quetta-bound train was coming from Peshawar. After the blast rail traffic between Quetta and other parts of the country was suspended.

Soon after receiving information about the incident, police and Frontier Corps personnel reached the area and launched a rescue operation.

The injured, including women and children, were taken to the district hospital in Dera Murad Jamali where an emergency was declared.

“The hospital has received four bodies and 31 injured,” Dr Ayaz Hussain Jamali told Dawn, adding that the condition of some of the injured was serious and they had been sent to hospitals in Quetta and Larkana.

The deceased were identified as Noor Bano, daughter Sadia, Shehzad Malik (Gujranwala) and Tahir Malik (Bahawalpur).

Noor Bano hailed from Dera Allahyar. Her husband is among the injured.

The bodies were later sent to the victims’ native towns.

Railway officials said that seven coaches of the passenger train derailed after the blast. They said the coach beneath which the blast occurred was badly damaged, adding that it overturned after the explosion. They said most of the victims were sitting in this coach.

Nasirabad Deputy Commissioner Qurban Mangi, FC commandant Anjum Shakeel and District Police Officer Irfan Bashir also reached the blast site.

DPO Bashir told Dawn that after its stay at the Dera Murad Jamali railway station the passenger train had left for its next destination and when it was passing through the Rabi canal area of Nasirabad district the power blast occurred at the railway track.

He said that it seemed remote control was used for the blast. He said that around 10kg of explosives was used for the blast.

Later, a relief train carrying engineers and heavy machinery reached at the blast site from the Sukkur Railway division and began repair work on the damaged track.

“Around 400-foot-long portion of the railway track was badly damaged by the blast,” a senior railway official in Quetta told Dawn. “The damaged coaches were being removed and the engineers had begun their work,” he added.

He said it would take at least 36 hours to repair the damaged railway track.

It was the second attack on Jaffar Express within two weeks time. Earlier, a railway track was blown up near the Dera Murad Jamali station when a Peshawar-bound train was moving towards its next destination.

However, no casualty was reported in that incident.

Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani condemned the bomb attack on the passenger train and termed it a cowardly act. He said that elements involved in such barbarian acts wanted to please their masters living aboard.

He said the government and the people of Balochistan would not bow down before these elements and deal with them with an iron hand.

He expressed his sorrow over loss of lives in the incident.

The chief minister said elements involved in the incident would be brought to justice.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2019