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At least 20 pilgrims killed, 42 injured after bus overturns in Pakistan

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Quetta: A speeding bus crammed with pilgrims overturned in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, on Friday killing at least 20 and leaving 42 others injured, officials and a hospital doctor said.

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The accident took place near the town of Khuzdar, about 260km south of the provincial capital Quetta, early in the morning after the bus careened off the road into a ditch, security official Bilal Ahmed said.

“The bus was overloaded, and passengers were even travelling on the roof of the bus,” he said adding “The driver lost control of the vehicle due to overspeeding [near the town of Khuzdar], and the bus fell into a ditch off the road.”

“We have received 20 bodies and over 40 injured in Khuzdar district hospital,” Dr. Manzoor Zahir told Reuters, adding that the condition of at least 10 of the injured was serious and the death count could increase.

Those seriously injured in the crash are being moved to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, Ahmed said. The journey from the site of the crash to Karachi is approximately 350km by road.

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Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Khuzdar Bashir Ahmed told media that the he bus was carrying pilgrims on their way back to Sindh province after attending a religious event – honouring a local Muslim saint – in the Wadh area of Balochistan.

Road accidents are common in Pakistan, particularly on a network of poorly maintained rural roads and highways that connect districts in far-flung areas.

A 2018 World Health Organization report estimated that at least 27,582 people were killed in road traffic accidents in 2016, far below official estimates, a rate of 14.3 per 100,000 members of the population.

Since 2016, Pakistan’s transportation infrastructure has been revamped in certain areas through investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $60bn transportation, trade and infrastructure project between the two countries.

Many roads and the country’s entire railway transportation system, however, have not been upgraded in decades.

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Earlier on Monday, as many as 63 people were killed and more than 100 people were injured as two passenger trains collided in Sindh province, after one of them derailed.

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