Pakistan PM cuts short London trip over oil tanker fire incident  

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-26 01:20:28|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ISLAMABAD, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cut short his London trip over the oil tanker fire incident on Sunday that killed at least 140 people and injured over 100 others in the country's eastern Punjab Province, the Prime Minister Office said.

A statement from the office media wing said that Sharif who was originally scheduled to return home on June 30 will leave for Pakistan on Sunday evening.

"Winding up his engagements in London, the PM has decided to immediately return back to country because terror attacks on Friday and oil tanker fire tragedy have grieved the nation immensely," said the statement.

Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab Province, has announced a compensation package of 2,000,000 rupees (19,100 U.S. dollars) for each of the killed and 1,000,000 rupees (9,550 U.S. dollars) for the injured.

According to police, the tragic incident took place at 6:23 a.m. local time when an oil tanker fully packed with around 50,000 liters of petrol skidded off the road after tire burst on a highway in Ahmad Pur Sharqia, a small town about 400 km southwest of Lahore, capital city of Punjab Province.

The fire broke out after many people from nearby villages came in motorbikes to collect the oil spilled out from the capsized oil tanker.

A total of 75 motorbikes and six vehicles including a traffic police vehicle were burnt out in the fire, said police. The site was littered with numerous bodies burned beyond recognition, said eyewitnesses.

Imran Shah, spokesman of Pakistan Motorway Police, said that initial investigation suggested that the fire broke out after someone on the spot lit a cigarette. However, further probe into the incident is still underway, he said.

Four helicopters and a C-130 airplane were used to airlift the critically injured to hospitals in other cities.

Rana Saleem, deputy commissioner of Bahawalpur, said the death toll might further rise as at least two dozen of the injured are in critical condition.

Both Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Sharif expressed deep sorrow over the loss of so many precious lives in the incident.

The prime minister also instructed all the concerned authorities to provide the best available medical treatment to the victims.