Nuclear-armed Pakistan: Nearly 200 fuel scavengers killed in fuel truck explosion

Pakistan inferno burns hundreds. (Youtube)
Pakistan inferno burns hundreds. (Youtube)

WARNING: Video of Pakistan fuel truck accident contains graphic images…

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan could reasonably be referred to as a nation with one foot in the 21st century, the other in the 7th. While a member of the media-dubbed Nuclear Weapons Club, Pakistan is also one of the leading nations when it comes to the predominantly Muslim cultural practice popularly known as “honor killing”.

A perfect example would be the instance today of a fuel truck overturning, then subsequently exploding, causing a casualty count that could easily reach the hundreds.

Initial reports, although sketchy so far, are citing that hundreds of Pakistanis rushed to the scene of the accident to steal just as much of the scarce commodity as possible.

As reported by the Associated Press via;

Alerted by an announcement over a mosque’s loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak, scores of villagers raced to the scene with fuel containers Sunday to gather the oil. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people in flames as they screamed in terror.

At least 153 men, women and children were killed, with dozens more in critical condition, hospital and rescue officials said.

“I have never seen anything like it in my life. Victims trapped in the fireball. They were screaming for help,” said Abdul Malik, a police officer who was among the first to arrive on the scene of horror in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

When the flames subsided, he said, “we saw bodies everywhere. So many were just skeletons. The people who were alive were in really bad shape.”

About 30 motorcycles that villagers had used to rush to the site of the highway accident lay charred nearby along with cars, witnesses said. Local news channels showed black smoke billowing skyward and army helicopters taking away the injured.

As far as the cause of the fire is concerned, the below video notes that according to GeoTV Pakistan “some” of those scavenging for fuel were smoking at the time.

While the cost of gasoline is relatively cheap by American standards ($2.50 a gallon), the per capita income in the Islamic Republic is a mere $1,561. By contrast, that of their American counterparts is $34,610.

That would be the same as Americans spending $55.50 on a single gallon of gas.

But in a nation so poor, that begs the question as to why the Islamabad government would spend billions upon billions in their decades-old nuclear weapons arsenal.

According the the Congressional Research Center, the Pakistani nuclear nuclear inventory stands at “approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads, although it could have more.”

Furthermore, despite the amount of money Pakistan spends on its nuclear weapons program classified as a state secret, the nuclear disarmament group Nuclear Threat Initiative cites that “Islamabad is spending $2.5 billion each year on nuclear arms operations.”

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