Death toll up as bus crashes in northwest Pakistan

Road accidents are common in Pakistan where motorists largely disregard traffic rules and safety standards on battered roads. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2019

Death toll up as bus crashes in northwest Pakistan

  • Incident happened Sunday in the Chilas distract, on the bus’ route from Skardu to the city of Rawalpindi
  • Rescue efforts were facing difficulties in the remote mountainous terrain due to lack of needed equipment and resources

ISLAMABAD: A bus crash in northern Pakistan killed 26 people Sunday after its brakes failed on a winding mountain road, police said.
Another 20 passengers were injured when the bus smashed head-on into a dirt embankment, said Abdul Wakil, a local police officer.
Such road accidents are common in Pakistan, where motorists largely disregard traffic rules and safety standards on worn-out roads. Last month, a speeding bus fell off a mountainous road into a river in the northwest, killing 24 passengers.
Rescue efforts were hampered Sunday by the remote terrain near the town of Chilas on the route between the cities of Rawalpindi and Skardu. That's in the Gilgit-Baltistan area, part of the larger Kashmir region.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and has been the sight of recent tensions. An army statement said ten soldiers were among those killed in the crash.
Wakil said two of the injured had died after being taken to the hospital, and that all the dead and injured had been evacuated to hospitals from the crash site.


South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

Updated 19 October 2019

South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

  • Riek Machar last met face-to-face with President Salva Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal
  • The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions

JUBA, South Sudan: South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar returned to the country Saturday to meet with President Salva Kiir less than a month before their deadline to form a unity government after a five-year civil war.
Machar last met face-to-face with Kiir in September, when they discussed outstanding issues in a fragile peace deal. His two-day visit includes a meeting with the US ambassador to the United Nations, who arrives Sunday with a UN Security Council delegation.
The delegation is expected to encourage progress in the peace deal signed a year ago but fraught with delays.
Both Kiir and Machar will meet with the delegation Sunday, government spokesman Michael Makuei said.
The opposition has said Machar won’t return to South Sudan for good to form the government by the Nov. 12 deadline unless security arrangements are in place.
The US has said it will reevaluate its relationship with South Sudan if that deadline is missed.
The civil war killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions.
Before Machar’s return a unified army of 41,500 opposition and government soldiers needs to be ready along with a 3,000-person VIP protection force.
But so far there are only 1,000 unified soldiers and security arrangements won’t meet the deadline, deputy opposition spokesman Manawa Peter Gatkuoth said.
The previous Machar-Kiir meeting focused on speeding up the screening and reunification of forces, but parties left the talks with differing views.
Deputy chairman for the opposition Henry Odwar called the meeting “lukewarm,” while Makuei called it “highly successful” and said everything was on track for next month’s deadline.