The world is watching, Punjab is mourning

Train tragedy in Pakistan

As the world suffers in silence, one place in particular, is calling out for help. In Pakistan, 73 confirmed dead, and dozens have been injured after a fire broke out in the Tezgam Express -which travels between the cities of Karachi in the south and Rawalpindi in the north and passes through Punjab province.

The Karachi to Rawalpindi service is considered one of Pakistan’s oldest, busiest and most popular trains.

The trip lasts for more than 25 hours, with each of the carriages containing space for somewhere between 60 to 80 passengers.

According to the railway’s minister, Rashid Ahmed, the cause of the incident was an explosion of a gas canister while passengers were cooking breakfast on a stove on the train on Thursday morning. “Two stoves blew up when people were cooking breakfast, the presence of kerosene with the passengers in the moving train further spread the fire”.

However, according to the local news outlets reports, the fact that railways officials were aware of passengers bringing on board their personal gas stoves, and yet allowing it, means that somehow the fault lies upon them.

Also, something to take note of is that several survivors were quoted by local media contradicting the official account. They believed a short circuit on the train was to blame.

Train incidents are common in Pakistan, where corruption, ill management and lack of investment have caused the railways incident rate to raise over the past few decades.

Overcrowding is also a frequent safety issue. In 2007, a crash near Mehrabpur caused the death of at least 56 people and injured more than 120, while the country suffered one of its worst train disasters in 2005 when a collision occurred between 3 trains in Sindh province, killing more than 130.

Which shows a startling resemblance to our state in Egypt, and further proves that the main issue in our countries is corruption. While there may be no magic bullet that can solve all that, the start of any solution lies with handling corruption and putting competent people in the positions in which they may do best.

Our hearts and prayers go for the victims in Punjab, and all others like them.