At least 35 men, women and children die in Pakistan bus crash fire

'Smuggled' petrol causes inferno after accident near Gadani

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The Independent Online

At least 35 people have died in an inferno following a crash between two buses and two lorries in southwestern Pakistan.

About 20 more were injured in the accident on Saturday along a coastal road in Baluchistan province, near Gadani.

A bus heading for the port city of Karachi first collided head-on with a truck coming from the opposite direction, said Ahmed Nawaz, the area's police chief.

Mr Nawaz said the second bus and lorry then piled up onto the two vehicles and they all exploded into flames, mostly because the buses were also smuggling Iranian petrol and diesel-filled canisters on board.

He said 25 people were reported to have died at the scene while 30 injured victims were taken out of the destroyed and burned buses.

Most of the victims, including women and children, were severely burned and were transported to Karachi.

Ten of the injured died on the way, raising the death toll to 35, Mr Nawaz said.

The inter-city buses operating across Baluchistan, which borders Iran, often carry canisters of smuggled Iranian fuel.

“It is routine, we are compelled to do this, even though it is illegal and dangerous,” said Mohammad Hasan Lehri, who works as a bus driver on the Quetta-Karachi route.

Mr Lehri said thousands of people are involved in the illegal trade and everyone gets a share of the profits, a veiled reference to police involvement.

Bad road infrastructure, poor driving and uneven enforcement of traffic laws and regulations often cause deadly accidents in Pakistan.

Additional reporting by Associated Press