KHUZDAR: Twenty-three devotees died and 45 others were injured, seven of them seriously, when an overloaded bus hurtled into a ditch in the Karkh tehsil of Khuzdar district on Friday.
They were returning home after attending the Urs of Pir Abdul Qadir Naqshbandi in Khuzdar, where around 70 devotees had come from Dadu and Larkana a day ago to attend the festival.
The deceased included two brothers and four members of a family, said a senior Levies official.
According to the injured passengers, the driver was enjoying music and driving recklessly. Imam Bakhsh, one of the injured passengers, told the Associated Press by phone that passengers had repeatedly warned the driver to be more careful.
Officials said the driver lost control over the steering when they were passing through the Bhlonk area of Karkh tehsil, some 45km from Khuzdar, and the bus fell into the deep ditch by the roadside.
People were also travelling on the roof of the bus. “Majority of the people who had lost their lives were sitting on the roof,” Khuzdar Deputy Commissioner retired Major Bashir Ahmed Breech said.
He said the levies force along with personnel of other forces rushed to the site soon after receiving information about the incident and started rescue operation. They shifted the injured and the bodies to Khuzdar district hospital.
Levies officials said 18 persons lost their lives on the spot while two others died while being shifted to the hospital. Ten seriously injured were shifted to the combined military hospital in Khuzdar for treatment while others were admitted in district hospital.
“All the victims were pilgrims who were returning from a religious festival honoring a local saint,” the deputy commissioner said.
Sixteen of the deceased who were identified were Mohammad Asif, Nizamuddin, Asad Ali, Hafiz Mohammad Hashim, Ali Murad, Atif Ali, Nisar Ahmed, Javed Ali, Zainul Abidin, Ashiq Ali, Sajjad Ali, Sohail Ahmed, Munir Ahmed, Ehsan Ali, Amanullah and Abdul Hafiz Local administration later sent the bodies to the native towns of the deceased.
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021