A train derailed in southern Pakistan on Sunday, killing 30 people and injuring more than 90 others as rescue operations continued, officials said.

Ten cars of a Rawalpindi-bound train got derailed, and some overturned, near the Pakistani town of Nawabshah trapping many passengers, said senior railway officer Mahmoodur Rehman Lakho.

Mr Lakho, who is in charge of railways in the accident area, said rescue crews took injured passengers to the nearby Peoples Hospital in Nawabshah.

He said the ill-fated Hazara Express was on its way from Karachi to Rawalpindi when ten cars went off the tracks near the Sarhari railway station off Nawabshah.

Senior police officer, Abid Baloch said that so far 30 bodies have been recovered while more than 60 people were injured, some critically.

He said that the death toll may rise as rescue operations continue.

Mr Baloch said women and children were among the dead and injured.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif prayed during a political gathering in Punjab for the souls of the departed and for the quick recovery of those injured.

“We all pray, may Allah grant a place in heaven to those who passed away and I wish quick recovery for the injured,” he said.

helicopter takes off and medical workers stand by ambulances
At least 60 people were injured, some critically, in the accident (Pervez Masih/AP)

Ihtesham Ali lost his family members and was looking for them in the chaotic situation.

“Seven members of my family and 22 from my neighbourhood were missing and so far we found only four of them, (the) rest are still missing.”

Mohsin Sayal, another senior railway officer, said train traffic has been suspended on the main railway line as repair trains have been dispatched to the scene.

Mr Sayal said alternative travel arrangements and medical care will be made available for the train’s passengers.

All trains in both directions were held at the nearest stations until the tracks could be cleared, while all departures were delayed.

Pakistan Train Crash
Rescue workers look for survivors at the site of a derailed train (Umair Ali/AP)

Passengers at Karachi station complained that they were waiting in hope as railway authorities kept changing departure times.

Minister for Railways, Khaja Saad Rafiq, said the crash could be due to a mechanical fault or the result of sabotage, adding that an investigation was underway.

He said that military and paramilitary troops along with rescue workers reached the scene and helped to rescue the trapped passengers.

The most seriously injured passengers were transported to distant hospitals in military helicopters for better treatment.

Train crashes often happen on poorly maintained railways tracks in Pakistan, where colonial-era communications and signal systems haven’t been modernised and safety standards are poor.