World reacts to Ghotki train crash

ISLAMABAD: Members of the international community on Monday extended condolences to Pakistan over the loss of lives in the train accident.

“We are deeply saddened to receive the news that as a result of a train crash in Ghotki district of Sindh province in Pakistan today more than 30 people have lost their lives and many others were injured,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The accident occurred when Millat Express, a passenger train plying Karachi to Sargodha, derailed and fell across the track. Within minutes, another passenger train, Sir Syed Express, which was en route to Karachi from Lahore, crashed into the first train’s fallen carriages, leaving a mangled wreck.

The accident, the latest in a series of train accidents that have raised serious questions about the safety of rail travel in the country, killed at least 32 passengers and injured 80 others.

“We wish Allah’s mercy upon those who have lost their lives in this tragic accident, speedy recovery to those who were injured, and convey our condolences to the friendly Government and the brotherly people of Pakistan,” the statement said.

“We were saddened to hear of the #trainaccident in Ghotki district this morning,” the US mission tweeted.

“We express our deep condolences to the victims’ families, and we wish a speedy recovery for those who were injured.”

UK Deputy High Commissioner Mike Nithavrianakis said his “thoughts and prayers are with all those affected”.

The diplomat said he had visited Ghotki and Daharki in March and “remember the warmth of the welcome” he received there.

British Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations Lord Tariq Ahmad said his “thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families”.

Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmour said her “thoughts are with the casualties and their loved ones”.

“Wishing a speedy recovery to those injured,” wrote European Union ambassador Androulla Kaminara.

Australian High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw offered “deepest condolences”.

Switzerland ambassador Bénédict de Cerjat offered “condolences to the families of the deceased and speedy recovery to the injured”.

Train accidents are not infrequent in Pakistan due to poorly maintained railway signal systems and ageing tracks.

Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati said a high-level inquiry has been ordered to probe the cause of the collision. “It is too early to say whether the accident was due to sabotage or due to the dilapidated condition of the train track,” he said.

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