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Ghotki Train Crash: Death Toll Rises To 65 As More Bodies Found

 A total of 65 people have now been confirmed killed in the train crash in Ghotki.

The latest toll was confirmed overnight as rescuers found more bodies trapped in the shattered carriages. Railway officials used heavy lifting gear to move all the mangled carriages off the track, and found several bodies beneath the engine of the express train that had crashed into a derailed train.

As rescuers continued their search, senior railway officials admitted they had known that section of track was unsafe. Repairs had been postponed because a full upgrade of the line was pending.

Carriages from a northbound Millat Express derailed in Ghotki district in the early hours of Monday morning and fell on the neighbouring track. Minutes later an oncoming Sir Syed Express smashed into the derailed train. The driver had unsuccessfully tried to apply the emergency brake.

Police officials said they expected the death toll to rise, with many passengers succumbing to their injuries in hospital.

Railways minister Azam Khan Swati said the section of the track where the accident took place needed urgent rehabilitation. Still, no decision had been made on whether to repair the track or to wait for a replacement as part of a Chinese investment programme.

The Chinese investment, as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build a modern-day Silk Road, would have upgraded Pakistan’s trains, but the plans have been delayed in a disagreement over financing.

“Whether we launch new trains or not, we see ourselves at the losing end,” the minister said. “There is also confusion whether to rehabilitate or replace this track with a new one.”

In February 2020, at least 19 people were killed when a train collided with a passenger bus near Sindh’s Rohri. Three months earlier, more than 70 had died in a fire aboard a moving train after carriages caught alight near Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.

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Naya Daur