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HYDERABAD, May 6: Federal Railways Minister Ghaus Bux Mahar has ordered an inquiry into the derailment of Rawalpindi-bound Tezrao Express on Wednesday. The federal government inspector, railways, Saleem Akhund, was appointed the inquiry officer.

The minister, who arrived here on Wednesday night, enquired after the health of the injured at the civil hospital on Thursday and left for the Tando Adam railway station. He was accompanied by the general manager, railways, Aurangzeb Khan, chief engineer, Yaqoob Zardari, and the superintendent of railways police, Saeen Rakhio Mirani.

Mr Mahar categorically stated that the incident was not caused by a subversive act. He quoted the driver as saying that the train derailed when he applied brakes after he felt that something was wrong with the track.

He said that disciplinary action would follow once the inquiry report was submitted. He said that an interim inquiry report would be submitted soon. The minister called for immediate restoration of the railway track for normal flow of traffic.

He was informed by officials that the track was being repaired and the damaged coaches were being removed. The officials said that the work would be completed by Thursday evening and that down track was being used for all railway traffic.

The minister expressed shock over press reports saying that passengers were looted by the railways police. Mr Mahar said that four of the 14 injured passengers had been discharged from the Hyderabad Civil Hospital and added that one person had died. He said that according to rules, Rs200,000 was to be paid to the family of a deceased.

Our Sanghar Correspondent adds: The railways authorities restored traffic on both up and down tracks on Thursday. The divisional commercial officer, Mohammad Ashraf Lanjar, who reached here from Karachi, told this correspondent that eight partially-damaged coaches had been removed from the track and shifted to Wahabshah and Tando Adam.

The wreckage of four coaches was still laying off the track and would be removed in a week. He said that the damaged track had been repaired. Mr Lanjar said that the sanctioned speed of Tezrao was 95 kilometres per hour and at the time of the accident, the train's speed was between 50 and 60.

He said that outer and home signals were clearly visible which were down when the train reached there. Minister Mahar visited Tando Adam twice. He also visited the Tando Adam Taluka Hospital. By Thursday, all the injured were discharged or shifted to big hospitals from the district.

Our Nawabshah Correspondent adds: Passengers travelling towards Karachi and upcountry from Nawabshah faced inconvenience as traffic was suspended for several hours after the accident.

According to a Dawn report from Lahore, Pakistan railways general manager Aurangzeb Khan said at a press conference that the report of the inquiry would be received within 10 days.

He said that the person killed in the accident was a blind passerby. He announced a compensation of Rs50,000 to be paid to each of the injured.