Bahawalpur, 153 die in gas tank blaze: Massacre of the desperate

The vehicle turned over and started to lose fuel. The victims were scrambling to fill pots, buckets and basins with fuel after an announcement from the mosque. The injured have burns on 80% of their body.

Bahawalpur (AsiaNews) – The latest toll from a fuel tanker blaze in Pakistan is of 153 dead. Yesterday a truck carrying 40,000 liters of fuel from Karachi Harbor (in the south of the country) to Lahore over turned on the highway in the Kachi Pul area in Bahawalpur district and began to spill gas on the asphalt.

According to Rana Mohammad Salim, deputy commissioner of the district, the news of fuel spill was announced at the nearby mosque, and hundreds of poor people scrambled to scoop up the precious resource with everything they had: pots, buckets and basins. At that point the tragedy occurred: The gasoline caught fire, engulfing all who were in the vicinity.

The latest news reports that the toll is going to get worse. In fact, in addition to the victims there are many seriously injured. Dr. Javed Iqbal, who works at the Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur, says that wounded have burns on 80% of their body. Multan and Lahore doctors, where at least 40 other people were transferred, confirm that the wounded have little hope of survival.

Investigations are under way into the dynamics of the accident. Police spokesman Imran Shah said the area was closed to traffic shortly after the vehicle overturned. But he added that the police could not stop the hundreds of people from the villages. The flames propagated in a matter of seconds, perhaps from a cigarette that triggered blaze. Mohammad Baqar, an officer on the scene, reported that most bodies could only be recognized through DNA testing. Police officer Abdul Malik says he has never seen anything like this in his life. “The victims were wrapped in a fireball. They shouted for help. When the flames were tamed, we saw bodies scattered everywhere. Many were just skeletons. "

The disaster took place on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting and prayer for Islam. Most Muslim countries celebrated the recurrence yesterday, while in Pakistan it is observed today. Many citizens have posted messages of grief and condolence on social media, stressing the grave loss of lives following the two terrorist attacks in Quetta and Parachinar in recent days.