Hazara Express crash: Railways 'suspends six officials for negligence'

Rafique says that investigations into train crash were underway and report will be finalised in few days

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A crane arrives to clear the tracks after a train derailed in Sarhari town in district Sanghar, Pakistan August 6, 2023. — Reuters
A crane arrives to clear the tracks after a train derailed in Sarhari town in district Sanghar, Pakistan August 6, 2023. — Reuters

  • Probe into Hazara Express train accident underway.
  • Rafique says two wheels of bogie jammed at time of departure.
  • Minister says compensation of Rs1.5 million given to affected family.

ISLAMABAD: Six officials of the railways department were suspended for their negligence that allegedly led to the Hazara Express crash, the latest train tragedy in the country, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique told the National Assembly as per a report by The News.

Pakistan saw a deadly train crash in Sanghar's Nawabshah last Sunday when 10 bogies of the Hazara Express derailed near Sarhari Railway Station, on its way from Karachi to Havelian, killing over thirty people and injuring over 100 others.

Speaking during Tuesday's NA session, Rafique said that the investigations into the matter were underway and the report will be finalised in a few days.

Explaining the cause of the accident, he said two wheels of a bogie were jammed at the time of its departure from Karachi. Besides that, the railway track near the site of the crash was also damaged, which led to the accident.

The minister said that the suspended officials were of grade BPS-18 and below.

A compensation of Rs1.5 million was given to each of the families of the passengers who lost their lives, he added.

Earlier, the Ministry of Pakistan Railways issued a notification for the suspension of officials in light of Rules 5 of Civil Servants Efficiency and Discipline Rule 2020.

The notification stated that the officials including a divisional engineer and a works manager had been suspended after an inquiry against them.

Six officers had been suspended with “immediate effect” and until further orders in connection with the tragedy in light of Rule-5 of Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020, it added.

An initial report on the accident stated that there were no fish plates connecting the line at the site of the accident and instead of the broken track, a piece of wood was previously installed for repair.

The wheels of the engine, impacted due to the derailment, were also damaged, it mentioned, adding that sabotage cannot be ruled out during the investigation.

It said that the responsibility lies with the engineering and mechanical engineering department.

There was a lack of consensus among six officers regarding the initial report.