South Asia

'Accidental truck blast' kills 18 in Pakistani city

At least 18 people have been killed in a lorry blast in the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad, police have said.

Police told the BBC the blast - thought to have been caused by an exploding gas cylinder - was "an accident rather than an act of sabotage".

The site in the Hala Naka area has been cordoned off. Local TV footage showed rescuers taking injured to hospital.

A senior police official said at least 42 people had been hurt when the truck - parked near a scrapyard - exploded.

Shops damaged

Hyderabad district police chief Javed Alam told the BBC that the lorry was carrying thinner - a chemical used by paint companies.

A gas cylinder at a nearby welding shop exploded and police say they believe that this blast in turn triggered an explosion in the truck.

"Though we are still investigating, the explosion seems to be just an accident and not an act of sabotage," Mr Alam said.

At least one shop in the area has collapsed while nine others have been partially damaged.

Half a dozen lorries parked in the area have also been damaged.

The explosion also brought down electricity poles supporting high-tension wires from a nearby electricity station.

The truck was parked at a stop on the outskirts of Hyderabad, 160km (100 miles) north of the southern financial capital of Karachi.