The News – Bahawalpur: Tragedy as nearly 150 burnt alive in oil tanker explosion

Bahawalpur, 25 June 2017. At least 149 people were burnt alive and dozens injured when an oil tanker caught fire and exploded near Bahawalpur where a large number of people had gathered to collect petrol from the overturned tanker, rescue services said.

According to details, people from nearby areas were collecting fuel from the oil tanker which had skidded off the national highway and overturned in Ahmed Pur Sharqia on Sunday morning. A large number of motorcycles and vehicles can be seen burnt in the huge fire.

The injured were moved to Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital and other health facilities. The death toll may rise as the affected are said to be in critical condition.

The police said that oil tanker carrying 50,000 liters of oil was on its way from Karachi to Lahore when it slipped from the road and overturned in Kachi Pul area, some eight kilometers off Ahmedpur Sharqia city.

“People living in roadside villages, carrying domestic pots rushed to the scene to collect oil and they also made phone calls to their relatives living in other villages to immediate come to collect oil,” they said.

They said that Motorway Police reached the scene and urged the people to keep away from the tanker as fire could erupt in the vehicle, but people including women and children did not respond to the request and continue collecting oil into pots.

Hospitals on high alert

Emergency was declared in the hospitals and doctors and paramedical staff were called in from other districts to cope with the calamity.

Ahmedpur Sharqia Health Center and Bahawalpur’s Victoria Hospital have no burn wards while the injured have suffered burn injuries on 80 percent part of their bodies. A major such facility is available in Multan’s Nishtar Hospital.

“According to the initial reports, somebody tried to light a cigarette, and when the spilt fuel caught fire, leading to the tanker´s explosion,” Jam Sajjad Hussain, spokesman for the rescue workers service said.

Firefighters fought the flames for over two hours before extinguishing the fire.

Bodies were badly burnt and beyond identification. Punjab Minister Rana Sanullah said DNA tests are being conducted for identification.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed grief on the tragedy and sought immediate report into the incident. The CM directed officials concerned to make all the necessary arrangements for the treatment of the injured.

Punjab government spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan said the chief minister have deputed his helicopter for rescue work.

Pakistan Army rescue

According to a statement from the ISPR, army’s military wing, COAS General Qamar Bajwa expressed grief on the losses in oil tanker incident and directed provision of full assistance to civil administration in rescue/relief effort.

Army Aviation helicopters have been sent for evacuation of casualties to hospitals and burn centres, while military hospitals were placed on high alert, it added.

Warnings ignored

Mohammad Shabbir, another villager, said the driver was shouting for people to stay away as the petrol could erupt at any time, but no one listened. “What is the use of this petrol, what will you do it with now?” he asked, pointing at a bucket in his other hand.

Pakistan Motorway Police spokesman Imran Shah told AFP residents also ignored police warnings to stay away.

Previous incident

Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims burnt beyond recognition.

Leaders shocked

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were shocked over the incident and directed government officials to help the victims in every possible way.

PM Nawaz expressed his grief and directed the government of Punjab to provide “full medical assistance”.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/212931-Tragedy-as-over-120-burnt-alive-near-Bahawalpur

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Sikh24.com – Canadian Sikh Group Seeks Investigations into 1985 Air India Bombing

Sikh24 Editors

Toronto-Ontario-Canada, 24 June 2017. In a press note issued on June 23, the Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar (SADA) Canada said that it favours the demand for a new Commission to inquire the 1985 Air India bombing.

“We stand in solidarity with the victims and families of the 1985 Air India bombing to demand a new Commission of Inquiry aiming to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Sukhminder Singh Hansra stated in the press note.

“While there were arrests and a lengthy court drama, the authorities were never able to bring the people who funded and executed this horrific terrorist attack to justice,” said said Sukhminder Singh Hansra president of SADA Canada.
“Previous investigations and inquiries by the federal government have sought to identify gaps in Canada’s security and intelligence system, but scarce little has been done to truly identify the killers.”

On June 23, 1985, 329 innocent people, most of them Canadians, lost their lives in the worst-ever terrorist attack in Canadian history. In 2006 the federal government called a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the bombing.

The Commission’s final Report, Air India Flight 182: A Canadian Tragedy, is a damning indictment of actions taken before and after the tragedy. On the 25th anniversary, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians for the institutional failings and the treatment of the victims’ families thereafter.

“We’re calling upon the Trudeau government to offer up more than apologies,” added Hansra. “We want justice for the victims and families and the community who is suffering from such stigma for the past 32 years.

Demanding justice shouldn’t be seen as a political football to be avoided for fear of dropping the ball. We need courage from our leaders to dig deep, help us find the truth and bring real healing to us all,” the press note states.

“The Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar Canada will continue lobbying federal members of parliament on the need for a new Commission of Inquiry until action is taken.”

http://www.sikh24.com/2017/06/24/canadian-sikh-group-seeks-investigations-into-1985-air-india-bombing/#.WU_k3ulLfIU

Gentbrugge: Braemstraat – Antwerpen De Lijn Trams

Braemstraat
29 May 2017

Heatwave ! No chola, no pijama

Antwerpen De Lijn Trams
30 May 2017

Frankrijklei
Announcing the new Noorderlijn

Frankrijklei – Tram tracks

Rooseveltplaats – Tram 11

Klipdorpbrug – Tram 11

Lange Nieuwstraat – Sint-Jacob
Tram 11, 12, 24

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Times of India – 300 Sikh pilgrims head to Pakistan for Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary

Yudhvir Rana

Amritsar-Panjab-India, 25 June 2017. As many as 300 Sikhs will leave for Pakistan to observe the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on June 28 even as Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) cancelled its plan to send the jatha (group of pilgims) to the neighbouring country after the Union government refused to take responsibility for their security.

Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society president Harpal Singh Bhullar told TOI on Saturday that Pakistan high commission had issued more than 300 visas to Sikhs going to Pakistan in jathas sent by various Sikh bodies, including Khalra Mission Committee, Nankana Sahib Sikh Yatree Jatha and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee besides their society.

He said SGPC should have sent its jatha to Pakistan respecting sentiments of Sikh devotees.

Earlier, in wake deteriorating relations between the two countries, SGPC was informed by the Indian government that the jatha could go to Pakistan at its own risk. To this, president Kirpal Singh Badungar had objected and had demanded that the matter be taken up with the Pakistan government at a diplomatic level.

Meanwhile, according to the programme chalked out by Pakistan’s Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) the bhog of Akhand Path will be performed on June 29 at Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore. The Sikh devotees will also visit other historical Sikh gurdwaras in Pakistan before returning on 7 July.

Bhullar said the Society had demanded from ETPB to allow Sikh devotees to visit memorial of Bhai Mani Singh, situated inside the Lahore fort.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/300-sikh-pilgrims-head-to-pak-for-maharaja-ranjit-singhs-death-anniversary/articleshow/59304468.cms?

Dawn – Parachinar twin blasts toll rises to 67

Hussain AfzalPublished about 15 hours ago

Parachinar-Kurram Agency-FATA, 25 June 2017. Amidst mourning and people mostly in a state of shock, the death toll of devastating twin blasts targeting a crowded market on Friday rose to 67 as more injured persons lost their lives overnight, official sources said on Saturday.

Political authorities confirmed to media persons that the number of killed people increased to 67 with several other injured persons also in a critical condition.

Forty-one people were killed and over 200 persons were wounded in one of the worst acts of terrorism in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency, on Friday. By Saturday evening, 26 more people had died during treatment in different hospitals.

A splinter group of outlawed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claims responsibility.

Initially, a blast took place at the busy Turi Market moments after an Al Quds Day rally had concluded at some distance from the place of occurrence.

When people rushed to the spot to remove the injured and bodies the second blast, which was more powerful, took place resulting in widespread death and destruction.

Victims were mostly people who were busy in routine as well as Eid shopping.

Keeping in view the magnitude of this tragedy the Agency Headquarters Hospital was not equipped to that standard also lacking medicines and other necessary items.

The affected areas mostly remained cut off from the rest of the country because of disruption in communication networks including cellular phones.

The aggrieved people had also staged a sit-in which continued on Saturday. Personnel of security forces had fired at some protesting mourners which had left several persons injured. Officials said that some charged mourners were trying to ransack government properties due to which they had to resort to firing.

Moving scenes were witnessed when multiple funerals took place in Parachinar city and adjacent areas.

Debris of destroyed items was strewn across the Turi Market. Sandals and shoes of victims littered with blood were also scattered around the area.

In Peshawar, a spokesman for public sector Lady Reading Hospital, Zulfiqar Babakhel, said that they had received 24 wounded and one dead on Friday night from Parachinar. He said that the injured did not include any women or children.

Due to security reasons journalists were not permitted to visit the injured persons and talk to them.

The Friday twin blasts were third major bomb attacks to hit the Parachinar city during this year.

Twenty-five people were killed and 87 others injured when an IED targeted busy vegetable market of the city earlier in January this year, while 23 others were killed and 73 wounded when an explosive-laden vehicle tore through a busy market on March 31.

The proscribed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami on Saturday claimed responsibility for twin bombs that hit a market in Parachinar, adds Reuters.

It said in a statement it was targeting Shias and threatened more attacks over “Pakistanis fighting against Sunni militants in Syria’s civil war”.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1341614/parachinar-twin-blasts-toll-rises-to-67