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153 killed in Pakistan oil tanker blaze

By Iram Asim

The death toll from an oil tanker fire in Pakistan has risen to 153, with dozens more in a critical condition, and the fatalities are still expected to increase.

The disaster happened when scores of people from a village raced with jerry cans to the spot near where the vehicle had overturned to collect the leaking fuel.

Saznoor Ahmad (30), whose two cousins were killed in the fire, said the crowd screamed as the flames engulfed them.

Most of the victims, who were taken to Bahawalpur's Victoria Hospital in south Punjab, suffered up to 80% burns.

The hospital declared a state of emergency, called in extra doctors and nurses, and formed a team to handle the emergency within 15 minutes of the fire.

Men, women and children were among the dead.

Many of the victims will have to be identified through DNA testing as they were burned beyond recognition, said Dr Mohammad Baqar, a senior rescue official in the area.

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