Pakistan oil-tanker blast: At least 148 people have died as an oil tanker overturned and exploded in Bahawalpur in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Most of the victims had gathered around the oil tanker when the vehicle while attempting to make a turn overturned. Most of the victims had collected around the truck to collect the oil that was spilled on to the street. Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan the provincial government spokesperson told news agency Reuters ”Locals and passersby had stopped around the fuel tanker when it exploded. The blast burned everything around the truck.Those seriously burned in the blast have been airlifted to hospitals in Bahawalpur and nearby cities, reported Reuters.
Speaking about the rescue agencies, Jam Sajjad Hussain told Reuters that prima facie it appears that a person lit a cigarette after the truck overturned which led to the blast, Hussain said, ”Somebody tried to light a cigarette, and when the spilled fuel caught fire, it led to the tanker’s explosion”.
Firefighters battled the flames for well over two hours to extinguish the flames. The office of Pakistani Prime Minister and the Punjab Provincial government have directed full medical assistance to the victims of the blast.
A statement from the Pakistani PMO accessed by Reuters stated, ”Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed grief over the heavy loss of life in the unfortunate incident”
Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a series of tweets had expressed grief over the incident on behalf of the Pakistani Army Chief General Bajwa. Ghafoor also tweeted that the Army Aviation Corps of the Pakistani Army has sent helicopters for the evacuation of the victims of the blast to the hospitals. Major General Ghafoor also tweeted that the Pakistani Army will provide full assistance to the civil administration.