Hospitals overwhelmed as death toll from oil tanker explosion rises to 157
Pakistan began Eid in mourning as the death toll in an oil tanker explosion rose to 157, with scores remain injured.
The disaster was one of several deadly events to mar the run-up to the Eidul Fitr holiday. Close to 100 people were killed in bombings in Quetta and Parachinar on Friday, which were claimed by the Jamaatul Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alimi, respectively.
Dr Nahid Ahmed at the Nishter Hospital in Multan said the death toll from Bahawalpur inferno has steadily been rising and reached 157 on Monday. He said 50 more severely burned victims were being treated at his hospital.
The explosion ignited early Sunday as crowds ignored warnings to stay away from the tanker which had overturned on a main highway from Karachi to Lahore, spilling some 40,000 litres of fuel. It was not clear what triggered the fireball, but on Sunday, a spokesman for rescue services said someone was believed to have lit a cigarette.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif appealed to the people of the province to celebrate Eid with simplicity and to pray for those who lost their lives and for the early recovery of those who got injured in the accident.
PM Sharif visits Bahawalpur to condole the loss of lives
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cut his trip to London short to condole the loss of more than 150 people in the Bahawalpur oil tanker blaze.
He reached Ahmad Pur Sharkiya by helicopter before noon Monday to join Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other provincial officials. The premier had flown in directly to Bahawalpur, where he visited the Victoria Hospital to spend time with those injured in the incident.
Assuring that an inquiry has been ordered into the accident, the premier announced government jobs for the heirs of the deceased and the injured, along with Rs1 million in aid for each of those injured.
Eid to be celebrated with simplicity: COAS
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has decided that the Army would celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with simplicity keeping in view of the unfortunate incident that has happened in Ahmedpur Sharqia and other recent incidents of terrorism in the country.
Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DGISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted on Sunday.
“Army stands shoulder to shoulder with victims of terrorism and fire,” the COAS was quoted as saying by DG ISPR.
“In Sha Allah we will over come all challenges by staying united and steadfast as a nation – Eid Mubarak,” the COAS said.