SADIQABAD
Tehreek-e-Istaqlal President Rehmat Khan Wardag has termed the school van cylinder blast, which killed at least 17 children and a teacher, a tragedy and sympathised with the kids’ parents. He demanded immediate ban on the gas cylinder installation in the public service vehicles to avoid such incidents in the future. He said that the unsafe and substandard cylinders have become bombs for passengers as such incidents are taking in a quick succession now-a-days claiming dozens of citizens’ lives. Talking to Sadia Shah, chairperson of Women’s Wing of the Tehreek, he said that the authorities concerned were doing nothing to stop such tragedies, adding that the departments concerned are in deep slumber or have turned a blind eye to issue being silent spectators. He demanded that the federal government should pay appropriate compensation money to the aggrieved families. He suggested that a ban should be imposed on the use of cylinder in all the public service vehicles and the filling station staff should be made responsible for checking the quality of cylinders before filling CNG. He also suggest a huge fine and rigorous punishment for the violators.The van was carrying 24 children to a private school in Gujarat, about 112 kilometres (70 miles) north of the eastern city on Lahore, when it caught fire, local police chief Dar Ali Khattak a news agency. The blaze was apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from gas to petrol, he said, adding that the fuel gas cylinder was intact.The children were aged between five and 15 years, he said, adding that a female teacher also died. The government announced Rs0.5 million as compensation for those killed and Rs75,000 for the injured. The driver, who fled and left the van in flames, has been arrested in the nearby city of Kharian, police official Abid Khan said.Initial information said the driver had also kept petrol in a plastic bottle, as reserve fuel for emergency use, which may have contributed in intensifying the fire, he added. The dead included three children of police constable Mohammad Riaz, and the dead teacher was their aunt, residents said, adding that thousands of people attended their funeral.