Quetta              -           At least 15 people died another injured when a fire engulfed a passenger bus following its head-on collision with a pick-up truck in Balochistan district of Qila Saifullah on Friday. The accident took place early yesterday after the pick-up vehicle sped away from a security checkpoint to evade capture near the town of Qila Saifullah, about 140km north of Quetta, government official Atiq ur Rehman told Al Jazeera. “At a checkpost, they gestured to stop the cars [carrying the smuggled fuel],” he said. “One vehicle escaped from there, and when they chased them they saw that the vehicle had been involved in an accident. Both vehicles fell into a ditch next to the road.” A fire ignited by the fuel completely engulfed the passenger bus, killing 15 passengers, he said. One man survived the fire with minor injuries, Rehman and disaster management officials said.  The burned bodies of the victims were unidentifiable due to the extent of the fire, and had been moved to Quetta for DNA testing, local disaster management official Younus Mengal told Al Jazeera.

“We are not sure about what happened to the people who were in the pick-up truck, we did not find any bodies in it,” said Rehman.

Smuggling of fuel, particularly diesel, from oil-rich Iran into Pakistan’s Balochistan has been a common practice for decades.  The two countries share a roughly 700km border.

Both governments have recently taken steps to tighten security at border crossings, conducting increased border patrols in recent months to curb smuggling and a slew of kidnapping attacks mainly targeting Iranian border guards.