By Nauman Tasleem Khan
A school teacher and 16 children killed in a van, which got fire due to spark in engine
The fitness certificate of the van was fake and expired in April 2013, says Gujrat DPO
The incident of Gujrat in which 16 children and one school teacher were killed while five injured has moved everyone. The tragic incident took place when the children were going to school in a van, which got fire due to a spark in the engine. The innocent children did not get a few minutes to get out of the van, which was not ‘fit’ to use but even then Punjab Transport Department issued a fake fitness certificate to it. The female teacher, who was also in the same van and tried to rescue the children and managed to save three children in her brave effort, could not survive due to the bruises. The coward driver, who was the major culprit in the tragic deaths escaped as soon the van got fire. However, he was arrested later.
The police said that the van driver a few minutes before the incident bought petrol in a can from a fuel station and placed it in the van. As soon the van got fire, the petrol caused huge flames.
According to Gujrat District Police Officer (DPO) Dar Ali Khattak the fitness certificate issued to the van too got expired last month. The District Coordination Officer (DCO) Asif Bilal Lodhi said that the fire erupted due to a short circuit in the van.
Whatever the reason is, there is an important question. Will our government and authorities concerned take a lesson from it or they will forget it in a day or two. The track record of our departments show that it is a routine incident for them and within a few days, they will forget it, as a number of such incidents have taken place in the past and no body cared for it. In September 2011, a bus carrying more than children skidded due to brake failure and fell in ravine. Later, it was discovered that the bus was not fit to use. So it is very simple that our government would never learn a lesson from the past and such incidents would take (God forbade) place in the future. The reason is very simple for this hypothesis. The region we are living in is an area where people’s lives are not top priority of the rulers. All they can do is arrest the drivers, transfer the district administration or give financial assistance to the victims but they will never evolve a system, which would guarantee to protect the lives of masses. In the above mentioned incident, I have not heard that the Transport Authority officials would be arrested for issuing fake certificates.
Here I would like to share my personal experience with the readers. In US, whenever a school van stops to dismount the children a ‘stop’ sign comes out automatically from the van and the traffic passing on that road has to stop at every cost. I asked my friend, if the drivers in the vehicles do not stop then what the fine is. “You would loose your driving license for good,” he replied calmly. So here is the difference between the developed and developing countries.
- 16 children, 1 teacher die in Pakistan bus fire (sacbee.com)
- Gas cylinder explosion on school bus kills 17 children in Pakistan (telegraph.co.uk)
- Gas Cylinder Explosion On Pakistan School Bus Kills 17 (huffingtonpost.com)