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Over 200 Killed in Pakistan Trains' Collision

Three passenger trains collided early Wednesday near Ghotki in Pakistan's southern Sindh Province, leaving over 200 people dead and more injured.

"Over 200 people were killed and nearly 1,000 others were injured. The death toll may rise further," said Agha Mohammad Tahir, Ghotki district police officer, who was quoted by state-owned Pakistan TV.

The tragedy occurred at about 4:00 AM (23:00GMT) at Sarhad station near Ghotki, about 600 kilometers northeast of Karachi, provincial capital of Sindh. A Quetta Express was static in the station for repair when a Karachi Express collided with it from the rear.

The Quetta Express was bringing passengers from the eastern city of Lahore to the southwestern city of Quetta, when it developed a technical problem. Technicians were working on the train when it was hit by the Karachi Express, a night-coach passenger train bringing people from Lahore to the southern port city of Karachi.

The collision caused three carriages to derail and spill over onto another track where they were struck by the third train Tezgam, which was carrying people from Karachi northward to Rawalpindi, twin city of Islamabad.

Train traffic has been suspended in the station. A emergency cell has been established at Pakistan Railways headquarters in Lahore to coordinate the rescue work.

One Edhi relief helicopter and relief trains from Multan in Punjab province and Rohri, about 100 kilometers southwest of Ghotki, are on their way to the accident site.

Pakistan Army troops, paramilitary forces, police and other law enforcement personnel have been called out for the relief operation. The dead bodies and the injured are being shifted to hospitals in nearby towns.

(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2005)

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