Six railway officials suspended after deadly train crash


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways has suspended six railway officials, including three senior officers, after a train derailment killed at least 30 people and injured more than 50 in Nawabsha, the railways ministry said on Tuesday.

The Hazara Express, carrying around 1,000 passengers from Karachi to Rawalpindi, derailed near Nawabshah on Sunday, in one of the worst rail accidents in the country in recent years.

The ministry said in a statement that a preliminary investigation had found that metal fishplates connecting the rails at the accident site were missing and that a section of track had been replaced with wood.

It also said that wheels on the locomotive were damaged and that sabotage could not be ruled out.

The suspended officials include two divisional superintendents of grade 18, one assistant engineer of grade 17, and three other staff members of grade 14 and below, the statement said.

The ministry said that a high-level inquiry committee had been formed to probe the incident and submit a detailed report within 15 days. It also said that it would take strict action against anyone found responsible for negligence or lapses in protocols.

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The incident has raised concerns over the safety and management of Pakistan’s railway system, which has been plagued by outdated systems, aging tracks, and frequent crashes. The government has faced criticism for neglecting the railway sector and failing to upgrade its infrastructure.

In June this year, a collision between two trains in Sindh killed at least 65 people and injured more than 100.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and sought a report on the incident from the railway authorities.

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