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April 3, 2016

Five miners killed in Orakzai coalmine blast

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April 3, 2016

KALAYA/SHANGLA: In the second incident of its kind in less than two weeks in the Doli area in Orakzai Agency, five coalminers were killed and six others sustained injuries in a blast caused by the accumulation of poisonous gases in a coalmine, a senior government official said on Saturday.

Political Agent of Orakzai Agency, Zubair Khan, told reporters that 11 labourers of the Sheraz Coalmine Company were working in the coalmine at the time of the explosion.

He said the officials of the political administration and personnel of the Frontier Corps jointly launched rescue activities and pulled out the bodies of the five workers identified as Ihsanul Haq, Hussain Ahmad, Said Alam, Arshad and Amanullah. 

The official said that six injured labourers, including Saqiur Rehman, Ameer Rehman, Nasir Ahmad, Mohammad Ayaz, Fazal Mahmood and Suhailzada, were rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital.

Zubair Khan said all the coalmines in Orakzai Agency had been declared sensitive and the coal companies were directed to stop their activities following the previous incident in a coalmine on 20 March, but the company in question flouted the advisory and didn’t seek permission from the political administration to resume work.     

He said strict action would be taken against the management of Sheraz Coalmine Company. He said raids were being conducted to arrest the manager and contractor of the company and its licence would also be annulled. The coalmine owners were said to be Abul Hasan, Wali Khan and Murtaza.

It may be recalled that seven coalminers were killed and dozens of others injured in a coalmine blast in the same Doli area in Orakzai Agency on March 20.

Our correspondent adds from Shangla: Four coalminers who were killed in the Orakzai Agency coalmine incident were laid to rest in Zara Dherai village in Shangla district amid moving scenes. The incident plunged the village into grief and brought tears to the eyes of all and sundry.

The injured are under treatment at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Most of the coalminers all over Pakistan belong to Shangla. It is a tradition that young men work in coalmines due to lack of other employment opportunities. Many coalminers also belong to Swat, Lower Dir and Upper Dir districts.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of Pakistan Baitul Mal, Abid Waheed Sheikh announced Rs50,000 compensation for the family of each of the dead worker and Rs30,000 for every injured person.

He directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Director for Pakistan Baitul Mal to contact the members of the bereaved families and deliver them the compensation amount.

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