Pakistan Railways (PR) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Muhammad Leghari has differed on Federal Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad’s claim and said that the deadly Tezgam Express fire from last year broke due to a short circuit and the gas cylinder only exploded later on.

As many as 73 passengers were killed, with 90 per cent of them burnt alive, and over 40 others injured when three coaches of the Rawalpindi-bound train caught fire near Liaquatpur in October 2019. The incident was called one of the most horrifying tragedies in PR’s history.

According to the ministry, the fire was caused by a cylinder blast that occurred when passengers were preparing breakfast for themselves in a moving train, a claim heavily disputed by eye-witnesses. People had widely demanded Rasheed’s resignation while the minister himself had suspended a couple of officers on account of criminal negligence and letting passengers carry gas cylinders on the ill-fated train.


With Rasheed making headlines as Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed observed that the minister should have resigned after the tragedy, and said that shutting down PR would be better than keeping it running under Rasheed, PR CEO Leghari’s claims have raised eyebrows over the government’s side of the story.

Speaking to a private media outlet, Leghari said that the fire broke out when an electric kettle in a dining car of the train, malfunctioned. “It was an illegal power connection from another coach,” he said, adding that the fire engulfed the entire coach, which led to the cylinder explosion.