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Tezgam Express Train Inferno: Death toll climbed 74

(Thursday – October 31, 2019) Horrifying: 74 killed, about 40 people, including women and children, were injured after gas cooking stoves exploded and set fire to a crowded Tezgam Express. An official of Rahim Yar Khan district administration said that, three coaches of the train caught fire by burst of two gas cylinders when passengers were preparing breakfast this morning. The train was passing through the Rahim Yar Khan.

Officials said the  fire engulfed  two economy class  bogies  and most of the passengers got up from Hyderabad.

The fire tenders and other emergency teams immediately rushed to the site and carried out the rescue operation. Bodies and injured were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ).

The firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire. Pakistan Army contingents were also dispatched to the area to take part in rescue and relief activities. An Army Aviation Helicopter  was airlifting the injured from the site of the incident.

Divisional Commercial Officer, Pakistan Railway Multan Division Nabila Aslam told that the rescue and relief operation has been completed.  She told that total two hundred and seven passengers on board in the three economy coaches of Tezgam which caught fire during the incident. She said now railway track is clear and train traffic has been restored on Up and Down track.

Medics say identification of the deceased would be carried out through DNA testing.

PM directs to provide all possible assistance to bereaved families. Prime Minister telephoned Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and expressed deep grief over the loss of precious lives in the train incident.

Sheikh Rashid has announced Rs. 15 million as compensation for each passenger killed in the incident while Rs. 500,000 for the injured.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced a compensation package of Rs. 15 million rupees for the heirs of each died passenger while Rs. 5000.000 rupees for each injured passenger.

He said he would himself monitor the relief activities. The minster said Tableeghi Jamaat Ameer  identified as Hussain, who had booked the two ill-fated coaches, remained safe in the incident.

He said Hussain has names of those who lost their lives in the incident. The minister conceded that it was “our negligence” that the passengers managed to carry the gas cylinder into the train.


China displays rock-solid support for Pakistan’s “core issue” of Kashmir

The visit by Pakistan PM Imran Khan to Beijing on October 8-9 has been a runaway success from Islamabad’s perspective. It revved up the dynamics of the China-Pakistan Economic Cooperation projects, will most certainly intensify China-Pakistan defence cooperation and, importantly, reaffirmed the whole-hearted Chinese support on Kashmir at the highest level of leadership in Beijing. Although billed as “working visit”, Imran Khan was accorded a ceremonial welcome by his host Premier Li Keqiang and was received by President Xi Jinping. Xi broke protocol to host a banquet lunch for Khan.

The timing of Khan’s visit, his third visit to China in 13 months, is highly significant  just before Xi’s overnight trip to India for an informal meeting with PM Modi on October 11 en route to Nepal for a state visit. According to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, “It was his (Xi’s) desire and ours (Pakistan’s) to take each other into confidence (before the informal meeting with Modi.) The nature of our relations is such that we take each other into confidence at every step.”

Kashmir issue figured prominently in Khan’s discussions in Beijing. Notably, Xi referred to the J&K situation. The Xinhua news agency reported:

“Khan briefed Xi on Pakistan’s views on the Kashmir situation, hoping to avoid deterioration of the situation, saying that Pakistan values and appreciates China’s objective and unbiased position.”

“Xi told Khan that China is paying close attention to the Kashmir situation and the facts are clear.”

“China supports Pakistan to safeguard its own legitimate rights and hopes that the relevant parties can solve their disputes through peaceful dialogue,” Xi said.”

The portions regarding the situation in J&K in the joint press release issued after Khan’s visit are verbatim culled out from the joint press release issued after the visit by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Islamabad a month ago on September 7-8. Suffice to say, Beijing has rejected Delhi’s sharp reaction to the Pakistan-China joint press release of September 8. It is a snub to Delhi.


Indian diplomats don’t have moral courage to see truth on the ground: DG ISPR

ISLAMABAD.( 21 Oct. 2019)  Diplomatic corps reached the Line of Control (LoC) to visit the sectors hit by the Indian troops firing on Saturday  19th Oct. and Sunday 20th Oct.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal is also accompanying the diplomatic corps. The diplomatic corps will visit Jura, Shahkot and Nousheri’s sectors along the LoC and observes the ground situation. The invitation to the diplomatic corps was extended on emergency basis to heads of missions of all embassies in Islamabad. India Charge de Affairs was also invited to prove the claim of his army chief before the foreign diplomats.

Director-General ISPR Major General Ghafoor who was accompanying the diplomatic corps said foreign diplomats visited Jora Bazaar and met with the people and shopkeepers there. During this, the diplomats also inspected the loss to houses and shops from Indian shelling.

About the Indian breach of the LoC, the military’s media spokesperson said India violated the 2018 agreements for the 3,038th time, while in 2019, India has violated the agreement 2,608 times so far.

He added, in 2018, 58 civilians were martyred and 319 injured, while in 2019 there have been 44 civilians shaheed and 230 injured.   He added a group of foreign diplomats and media is on the way to LoC to see the truth on ground. At least five civilians and one soldier were martyred on Sunday in cross-border firing. The Indian Defence Attache told The News on Monday evening that he was not going to the LoC while the Indian Charge’d Affaires said New Delhi had not granted him permission to visit to the LOC.

DG ISPR  had said Pakistan would take diplomats and media on the given locations where India claimed it destroyed three alleged militant camps in Pakistan, to present the actual facts on ground. “Indians have no grounds to support false claim made by their COAS. If they don’t want to go they have the option to share claimed targeted locations with our foreign office. We will take foreign diplomats & media tomorrow on those given locations. Let all see facts on ground,” he tweeted.


Master diplomat Munir Akram back to UN

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s newly appointed Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Munir Akram, 74, is known among the diplomatic circles as a master diplomat towards India specialised in multilateral diplomacy.

He has to his credit of having worked at the United Nations chapters in New York and Geneva. He is a recipient of ‘Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam.’ The ‘smooth-as-silk’ tribute to Munir Akram for his diplomatic skills and finesse was paid by John Bolton, former US chief delegate and estranged close aide to President Trump, in his book, “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad.”

An expert at multilateral diplomacy, Munir Akram was appointed as Pakistan’s chief delegate at the UN in 2002 after serving as ambassador to the world body’s European offices in Geneva for seven years. He was entangled in a domestic dispute but survived due to diplomatic immunity in New York back in early 2003. The administration in Pakistan termed the episode an intrigue to come in his way who was following an aggressive diplomacy then. He opted to stay in New York after giving up the diplomatic assignment.

Munir Akram served for seven years in Geneva as Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN before taking on the assignment in New York in May 2002. According to the Indian media, Munir Akram is said to be a master of UN diplomacy. In the Indian diplomatic circles, Akram Brothers  Munir and Zamir (who had been Pak HC in New Delhi)  are known for their harsh stand against India.

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