Photograph Courtesy Adnan Sheikh and Bilal Sheikh, AFP
The American Sikh Council (ASC) is shocked and saddened at the horrifying accident which involved a bus carrying Sikh pilgrims which collided with a train at a railway crossing on July 3, 2020.
According to Asghar Joya, a government official in Sheikhupura, the initial investigation has indicated that the bus driver tried to cross the railway tracks, but the bus skidded and got stuck in between the tracks. The oncoming passenger train, the Shah Hussain Express crashed into a Toyota mini-bus filled with 30 Sikh pilgrims who were travelling back after visiting Nanakana Sahib Gurdwara in Sheikhupura, Punjab. All the Sikhs were from the northwestern city of Peshawar, Pakistan.
The Pakistan Railways stated that the accident occurred around 1:30 pm as the Lahore-bound train, travelling from Karachi, crashed into a mini-bus at an unmanned level crossing between Farooqabad and Bahalekay.
The latest reports indicate that at least 20 Sikhs were killed including the driver, including seven women, and at least eight were injured. Digital media in charge for the Punjab chief minister, Azhar Mashwani, stated on Twitter, “30 people were travelling on the coaster from Nankana Sahib to Peshawar, out of whom thirteen males and seven females died in the accident.”
The ten injured have been moved to the local District Headquarters Hospital in Sheikhupura. The bodies of the deceased are being shifted to Mayo Hospital Lahore.
Pakistan’s President Arif Ali and prime minister Imran Khan issued statements expressing their sorrow and ordering local authorities provide the best possible treatment for the injured.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted, “Deeply saddened at the accident this afternoon at a railway crossing near Sheikhupura which resulted in the death of at least 20 people, mainly Sikh pilgrims returning from Nankana Sahib. Have directed that proper medical care be provided to the injured.”
Several high officials of Pakistan have put out statements condoling the families of the deceased.
American Sikh Council President Dr.Gurdas Singh stated, “Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this terrible accident. We thank the Pakistan government for the timely assistance. Also, an earnest plea to properly protect unmanned railway crossings so no else loses their life unnecessarily in the future.”
The American Sikh Council (ASC) extends its sympathy and condolences to all the families and their loved ones and may ‘Akal Purakh’ bestow a benevolent glance on those who lost their lives and those who are recovering, including their families.