Not Again: Several pilgrims killed after bus overturns in southwest Pakistan

A speeding bus carrying dozens of pilgrims has overturned in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, killing at least 18 people and injuring 42 others, officials say.

The accident took place near the town of Khuzdar, about 260km south of the provincial capital Quetta, early on Friday morning, security official Bilal Ahmed said.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle due to overspeeding [near the town of Khuzdar], and the bus fell into a ditch off the road,” he told Al Jazeera.

Those seriously injured in the crash are being moved to Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, Ahmed said. The journey from the site of the crash to Karachi is approximately 350km by road.

The bus was carrying pilgrims on their way back to Sindh province after attending a religious event in the Wadh area of Balochistan, he said.

Road accidents are common in Pakistan, particularly on a network of poorly maintained rural roads and highways that connect districts in far-flung areas.

A 2018 World Health Organization report estimated that at least 27,582 people were killed in road traffic accidents in 2016, far below official estimates, a rate of 14.3 per 100,000 members of the population.

Since 2016, Pakistan’s transportation infrastructure has been revamped in certain areas through investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $60bn transportation, trade and infrastructure project between the two countries.

Many roads and the country’s entire railway transportation system, however, have not been upgraded in decades.

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