THE victims’ relatives mourn at a hospital in Karachi.—AFP
THE victims’ relatives mourn at a hospital in Karachi.—AFP

THATTA / QUETTA: Eidul Fitr festivities in village Qasim Jokhio, near Thatta, turned into mourning on Thursday as 17 villagers, including 12 from one family, were laid to rest after their death in a road accident a day earlier.

The victims were hea­ded to the Shah Noorani shrine in Khuzdar on Wednesday, the first day of Eidul Fitr, when the truck they were travelling in overturned and slipped into a deep roadside ditch near Hub.

The funerals were attended by a huge number of villagers and people from surrounding areas, including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and local lawmakers.

Officials said the horrific road accident late in the evening resulted in the instant death of 13 people, who were crushed under the truck, while around 50 were injured.

Police, Levies and Rescue officials rushed to the site soon after receiving information about the accident and started shifting the bodies and injured to the Jam Ghulam Qadir Hospital in Hub.

Around 50 people were shifted to the hospital in injured condition, four of whom died during treatment, taking the death toll to 17, Dr Nasir Sheikh told Dawn.

A senior police officer, Abdul Wahid Baloch, said around 100 pilgrims from the Makli area of Thatta district were on their way to visit the shrine of Sufi saint Shah Noorani, who is revered for his role in spreading Islam in the area. The accident occurred due to speeding, as the driver lost control of the vehicle, which fell into the ditch, he said The police officer added that the pilgrims were mostly labourers working at brick kilns in Makli.

According to Hub SSP Manzoor Buledi, this was the driver’s first trip to the shrine, and he was not aware of the condition of the road.

The driver managed to jump out of the truck before it fell into the ditch and suffered injuries, the SSP said, adding that he was arrested and shifted to the hospital for treatment.

The bodies were later dispatched to their native village for burial.

The Sindh government has announced compensation for the victim’s families.

Talking to media after visiting the injured at Trauma Centre in Civil Hospital, the chief minister said his government has a procedure in place to pay Rs100,000 compensation to families of victims. “I have directed MPAs and MNAs to facilitate the affected families, and we will try to compensate the families of the victims”; he mentioned.

He said around 50 injured were provided medical treatment at the Trauma Centre, and two children were treated at the National Institute of Child Health, Of them, 40 were discharged, while 12, including two children, were under treatment.

Mr Shah said the condition of the five injured was critical.

While talking about the accident, the chief minister said the pilgrims were travelling in a caravan of three to four vehicles from Thatta.

One of the trucks developed a fault after which passengers were shifted to another vehicle that met with the incident.

G.H. Khwaja in Thatta and Saleem Shahid in Quetta contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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