17 killed, over 30 injured as truck en route to Shah Noorani shrine falls into ditch

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17 killed, over 30 injured as truck en route to Shah Noorani shrine falls into ditch

HUB: At least 17 people were killed and more than 30 injured after a truck carrying pilgrims en route to the Shah Noorani shrine fell into a ditch in Balochistan’s Hub district.

According to the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Sakro Wajid Ali, the driver of the truck, Karim Baksh — who was also injured in the incident — has been taken into custody. The police official added that the accident occurred due to a turn during the drive.

The incident occurred when a truck carrying pilgrims from Thatta had fallen into a ditch in the Hub district, while it was on its way to the Shah Noorani shrine in Khuzdar, Balochistan.

Speaking with journalists outside the Edhi morgue in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth, the police official said: “More than 70 people had left for the pilgrimage from Makli’s Qasim Jokhio village.”

At least 15 out of the 17 deceased have been identified, he added.

Meanwhile, rescue sources said that a total of 17 dead and 38 injured have been identified.

Social worker Saad Edhi informed journalists that the information about the accident was received by 11pm, while the rescue operation was completed within two hours.

He added that the 17 dead bodies were first transferred to the Civil Hospital Hub, then to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth. He added that the 35 injured were brought to the Civil Hospital in Karachi.

“The truck fell into the ditch near Shah Noorani causing the accident. The exact time of the accident could not be known due to lack of [mobile network] signal,” he said, sharing details regarding the accident,

Edhi said that the dead will be bathed and shrouded, and then taken to their native village in Thatta.

Outside the Edhi morgue in Karachi, the relatives of the victims killed in the incident told media that all the deceased will be buried in the native village Makli.

The relatives refuted reports regarding the incident occurring due to a race between drivers and said that it, in fact, took place after the truck went out of control while taking a turn.

“Passengers kept falling from the truck, which resulted in deaths,” they said.

The relatives claim that at least 17 people have died in the accident, while 49 injured are under treatment in Civil Hospital.

The families told Geo News that the truck left Makli at 2pm, while the accident took place at 8pm. They received information about the accident at 9pm.

The relatives of the victims told journalists that at least 20 of their people have died in the incident, while the injured are still being brought to the hospital.

All the people are from the same Qasim Goth village of Makli and visit every year, the added.

Confirming the incident, which took place late Wednesday night, spokesperson of the Balochistan government told Geo News that the pilgrims were travelling to the Shah Noorani shrine from Karachi.

Meanwhile, the police said that the pilgrims belonged to Thatta district in Sindh.

CM Bugti takes notice
Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti also took notice of the incident, directing the district administration to transfer the injured to the hospitals immediately.

The spokesperson of the provincial government shared that an emergency has been imposed in the Jam Ghulam Qadir Hospital Hub. He added that emergency instructions have been sent to the commissioners of Kalat and Hub.

The spokesperson also shared that the CM has asked the administration to contact the Sindh government to shift the critically injured to Karachi.

According to Balochistan Health Secretary Abdullah Khan the bodies of the five people killed and 16 of the injured have been shifted to the Jam Ghulam Qadir Hospital in Hub.

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi taking note of the incident expressed his sympathy and condolences with the families affected by the incident. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The Shah Noorani shrine is located in a remote mountainous region about 200km away from Karachi.

In December of last year, a bus carrying pilgrims caught fire on its way from Shah Noorani shrine in Balochistan’s Khuzdar to Karachi killing at least one passenger and injuring several others.

Back then the accident had also taken place in Hub district.

The accident had taken place near Lang Lohar near Sakran, Hub District, around 30 kilometres from the port city, as the vehicle’s engine heated up due to speeding and ignited flames.

The blaze burned the entire bus to ash before being doused.

Bus accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan, in November of 2023 a school bus fell into a ravine near the Shahdara area of Islamabad, killing a school teacher and injuring 20 passengers.