MUZAFFARABAD: Police said that a rickshaw plunged into a ravine in Poonch district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday, leaving a couple and their niece dead.

“The victims, identified as Azhar Yaqoob, 35, his spouse Parveen Akhtar, 30, and their 14 year old niece Nayab Ittefaq, were travelling towards Hajira from Tetrinote village when they met the tragic incident near Madarpur village at about 3:30pm,” said Sajjad Hussain, a police official based in the area.

“The rickshaw veered off the road, presumably due to some technical fault, and fell some 50 feet down into a ravine, leaving all three commuters dead on the spot,” he said.

The official said that the rickshaw driver, identified as Tabarak Hussain Shah, was not found anywhere around the scene of the accident and hence it was assumed that he might have jumped out of the three-wheeler and fled.

On social media, residents alleged that untrained people were driving rickshaws in mountainous areas with impunity, posing great risk to the lives of the commuters.

“The authorities should take stock of accidents involving rickshaws and ban them in hilly areas,” said Amir Sohail Fazal, a resident of Tetrinote.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2019