153 die in oil tanker inferno

Eid celebrations in Pakistan were on Monday overshadowed by the grisly oil tanker explosion as the death toll in the catastrophic fire rose to 157 with families rushing to hospitals to claim the bodies of their loved ones most of whom were charred beyond recognition.

According to the television channel, many of those injured are in critical condition.

The oil tanker coming from Karachi and headed to Lahore overturned early Sunday morning on the national highway at the Ahmedpur Sharqia area of the Bahawalpur district, some 400 km from Lahore, after a tyre burst.

Police sources said that people in nearby villages had rushed to the scene to collect fuel in pots, and also made phone calls to their relatives in other villages to come to collect the fuel. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people and several nearby vehicles. Please consider contributing to Eurasia Review, as we are truly independent and do not receive financial support from any institution, corporation or organization.

Rizwan Naseer, the head of the Punjab province's rescue services, said 122 people were killed and another 76 were wounded, with many suffering serious burns.

Highway police tried to redirect traffic, but could not stop the onslaught of people.

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Paramedics bring a burns victim injured after an oil tanker caught fire following an accident on a highway in Bahawalpur to a hospital in Multan. Afzal said women and children were among the victims.

The officials said most of the bodies could not be identified as they had been charred and would require DNA test for identification purposes. He said 50 severely burned victims were being treated at his hospital.

Mumtaz Mai, a 40-year-old widow who lived with her two nephews, was beating her chest and screaming after both were lost in the fire.

Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab Province, has announced a compensation package of 2,000,000 rupees (19,100 USA dollars) for each of the killed and 1,000,000 rupees (9,550 US dollars) for the injured. Multan Corps Commander Lt-Gen Sarfaraz Sattar was also present on this occasion. The CM directed officials concerned to make all the necessary arrangements for the treatment of the injured.

He said a high-level investigation would be launched into the tanker tragedy and announced Rs2 million compensation amount to the heirs of each deceased and Rs1 million for the each injured.

It is pertinent to mention here that Nawaz Sharif has reached Bahawalpur after cutting short his London visit in the wake of unfortunate oil tanker incident.

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