Karachi -  In a harrowing incident near Karachi Zoological Garden, six members of a family were burnt alive when they were on their way to Hawkes Bay for a picnic in the early hours on Sunday morning.

There were 11 passengers in the van when it caught fire, resulting in the deaths of six members of a family on the spot and injuries to two others, while four people, including the van driver and two children, succeeded in escaping unhurt.

The ill-fated family of Lasbella was on its way to Hawkes Bay for a picnic on Sunday, according to one of the survivors, Muhamad Ali.

He said that he was sitting next to the driver along with his two children while the rest of his family were sitting on back seats when he saw a spark at the back and asked the driver to stop the van.

“The driver applied brakes immediately and he, his two children and the driver quickly stepped out of the van and before they could do anything suddenly fire broke out," he explained.

"My family kept shouting and crying for help, but I could not help them and they were burnt alive in front of me," he recalled.

Ali said that none of his family members could come out of the van as doors of the van, even the windows were closed. “But I, my son and a nephew were rescued by a crowd of people who broke the window panes,” he elaborated.

Ali lost his wife and a daughter, his brother, sister-in-law and two nephews in the tragic incident.

The survivor blamed the van driver and the government for the incident.

The victims’ bodies were taken to Civil Hospital, Karachi for medico legal formalities where doctors said that the bodies were charred.

The victims were identified as 45-year-old Muhammad  Saleem, son of Muhammad Umar, his wife Nelofar, 40,  his two-year-old son, Abdul Hadi, his 14-year-old son Sheharyar, his niece 14-year-old Mehwish, daughter of Muhammad Ali and his sister-in-law Binish, 35, wife of Muhammad Ali. Saleem's another son, Sheroz, 8, and niece Marium, 17, daughter of Muhammad Ali, were injured.

Police officials said that two CNG cylinders remained intact and believed short-circuit could be behind the incident.

However, they are yet to determine how the fire actually erupted as investigations are still underway.

The driver fled from the scene and is yet to be traced, but police have arrested his father and brother, but has not registered an FIR as yet.

Garden SHO Ghulam Nabi Afridi said that they were unsure about how and why the incident occurred, but the FIR would be registered for criminal negligence that claimed six innocent lives.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal and IGP Allah Dino Khawaja have taken notice of the incident and sought a report from Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo as well as Transport Minister Nasir Hussain Shah.

The report will determine whether the van which caught fire was fit enough to be on roads and what ignited the flames.





Our Staff Reporter