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Monday, January 30, 2006

Pakistan says signs of sabotage in train derailment

ISLAMABAD, Jan 30 - The derailment of a packed express train in Pakistan that killed at least two people and injured more than 70 appears to have been caused by sabotage, a railways official said on Monday.

"There is certain evidence collected at the site which shows an element of sabotage," Ishaq Khakwani, the minister of state for railways, told Reuters.

He said nuts and bolts and fishplates had been found removed from a portion of the track from where one of the six carriages of the train, which was carrying more than 600 people, plunged into a ravine on Sunday night.

Spanners were also found lying nearby, he said.

Khakwani said an inquiry was under way, but sabotage seemed the most likely cause.

He declined to speculate on who was responsible, but said: "They selected a place where maximum damage could be caused."

The Lahore-bound train was travelling from Rawalpindi, a city adjoining the capital Islamabad, when it jumped the track on a curving gradient.

One carriage plunged 50 feet (15 metres) into a ravine, while the others came to rest on a slope, Khakwani said.
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