Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1958 EAT on Monday 18th July 2022.
At least 20 people have died and another 30 are missing after a boat carrying more than 100 people capsized in a river in central Pakistan, officials said.
The overloaded boat was heading to a wedding when it capsized in the Indus River in the district of Sadiqabad, the government said in a statement on Monday.
Nearly 90 people were rescued by divers, the statement said, adding that the passengers were mostly women and children.
All those on board belonged to one clan and were on their way to a family wedding across the river, it added.
“We have retrieved 20 bodies so far” and most of them were women, local government official Aslam Tasleem told local media channel Geo News.
“We’re not sure how many people exactly were on the boat. We’re getting the estimates just on the basis of the family members’ accounts,” he said.
Earlier, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to Twitter to express his condolences to the victims’ family.
“I am saddened by the loss of 19 precious lives as a result of the boat capsizing accident in the Indus River … We pray to Allah Almighty to grant the deceased a place in his mercy and grant patience to the affected families,” he tweeted.
Nearly 35 divers from a state-run rescue service took part in an operation to find and save more people who were in the river, the government’s statement said.
Villagers in rural Pakistan often use boats to travel, avoiding the higher costs of automobile transport on ramshackle roads that are often far from their homes.