A train travelling from Karachi to Rawalpindi in Pakistan, Tezgam Express, has caught fire and claimed the lives of at least 74 people and injured 40 others.

Three of the carriages were destroyed due to the blaze that started near the town of Rahim Yar Khan in the south of Punjab province.

Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the incident occurred after a gas cylinder that passengers were using to cook breakfast exploded.

Ahmed added that the conductor had ordered some passengers not to cook but his words were ignored.

Many victims tried to jump off the moving train to escape the flames and died, according to officials cited in local media. The officials said that the number of victims may still increase.

Many passengers who were on board were pilgrims travelling to Raiwind near Lahore for Pakistan’s annual religious conference, which is organised by the Tablighi Jamaat Sunni Muslim missionary movement.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered an immediate inquiry into the cause of the fire explosion in Tezgam Express.

Following the incident, firefighters, paramedics and soldiers responded, and an army helicopter was at the site to evacuate critically injured people, as reported by ISPR, a media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

Local police officer Amir Taimoor said that passengers were still using gas-powered cookers for making breakfast inside the train even though gas cylinders are prohibited on trains.

Several survivors told media that the incident may have occurred due to short-circuit in the electrical system of the train.