Twenty-one people, mostly Sikh pilgrims, died in the impact when a train rammed into a bus near Sheikhupura on 3 July afternoon. The train hit the bus carrying the pilgrims at an unmanned railway crossing by the Karachi bound Shah Hussain Express.
The pilgrims were travelling from Peshawar. Police have said there were 25-27 persons in the van at the time of the accident.
Pakistan railways official said railway and district rescue teams arrived at the spot to rescue the victims. They rushed the injured to Sheikhupura Hospital. Some are reported to be in critical condition.
The crossing gate where the accident took place was closed and yet this accident happened. The coaster minibus driver, sources said, might have tried to take a short cut instead of waiting at the crossing. This resulted in the crash, a local police official said.
According to the secretary-general of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Sardar Amir Singh, the deceased belong to three or four Sikh families.
The Sikh pilgrims were on their way back to Peshawar after a visit to Nankana Sahib — where they had gone to visit relatives. The convoy of pilgrims comprised two more coaches but both took another route and have been reported to be safe.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the Sikh pilgrims were returning from Nankana Sahib. He also said that the injured will be provided with proper medical care.
“Deeply saddened at the accident this afternoon at a railway crossing near Sheikhupura which resulted in the death of at least 21 people, mainly Sikh pilgrims returning from Nankana Sahib. Have directed that proper medical care be provided to the injured,” Khan tweeted.
All of them were Pakistan nationals and hailed from the north-western city of Peshawar. They had come to Nankana Sahib to attend prayers after a relative of theirs had died and also visited Nankana Sahib gurdwara. They were returning to Peshawar via Farooqabad where they had planned to stop over at Gurdwara Dera Sacha Sauda.