PTI wants urgent steps to check fire incidents
14 September, 2012
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former minister Malik Abdul Qayyum said that immediate steps must be taken to avoid industrial accidents in future, otherwise incidents such as that of Karachi and Lahore would continue to happen.
He said that lamentable standards of health and safety at workplaces were a reason for such incidents. Building rules have been openly flouted and factory inspectors have been bribed to shut their eyes. Industrial buildings are being designed ignoring all safety precautions and the authorities concerned have kept silent. The factory in Karachi, where more than 300 died, had no fire escape.
Despite being multi-storied, it had a single entry and exit door, he added. Qayyum said the factory in Lahore, where 25 died and 11 were injured, was illegally housed in a residential area.
The PTI leader said, "We have all the laws regarding health and safety of industrial workers, what we lack is strict enforcement of these laws. The only way forward to stop such happenings in future is the rigorous application of the law."
Nawaz holds factory owners, government responsible for fire
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has declared factory owners, government and the government office-bearers equally responsible for the loss of human lives in Karachi and Lahore, and has termed both incidents national tragedies.
While talking to media during his visit to the burnt factory on Ring Road on Thursday, Nawaz said that if factory owners were responsible for the tragic incident, then the government and government officials were equally responsible as well. He said that laws were present in the country but implementation was direly needed to avoid such incidents. It was binding upon the government to implement rules concerning factories in true spirit, he added.
Nawaz was of the view that corruption has permeated in the society, therefore, laws were not being implemented. He said there was a need for a change that could motivate the people to work with determination and responsibility. He held former president Pervez Musharraf responsible for the prevailing situation in the country. Nawaz said that dictatorship played a vital role in leading the affairs of the country from bad to worse and still government institutions were running on the lines set by former ruler Musharraf.
To a question about the growing trend of setting up industries in the residential localities in Lahore, Nawaz said that this was not a matter of past few years but was in tradition for at least 40 to 50 years. It was a responsibility of the governments in past as well to prevent this trend, he added. He asked the Punjab government to make proper legislation to avoid such incidents in future.
Nawaz also assured that the officer responsible would be made answerable for such negligence. He said that due to unemployment and price hike, people were setting up factories at small places. He said that although these factories provided job opportunities, proper security measures were also necessary.
The PML-N president announced that he would visit Karachi today (Friday) to express solidarity with the victims' families. He said besides provincial government's compensation money for the affected families, philanthropists must also come forward to help the affected.
Terror can't be ruled out in Karachi fire, says Malik
Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday said that an act of terror could not be excluded as one of the possible reasons of the fire incident in Karachi that killed hundreds of people, adding that an enquiry is underway to ascertain its causes.
While talking to the media outside Parliament House, he said that the provincial government was investigating the incident, as the federal government could not interfere in this provincial matter.
Malik also summoned a report from the Islamabad inspector general (IG) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa FC IG regarding the abduction of eight people from Gomal Zam Dam. To a question, he said that the UN delegation was not a commission, rather a working group, therefore its involvement should not be made an issue. To another question, he said that he denounces the anti-Islam film and no one will be allowed to commit blasphemy.
China, France, US condole with fire victims' families
China, France, and US have expressed their sympathies and condolence for the families of victims of fires in Karachi and Lahore.
People's Republic of China Ambassador Liu Jian called on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan on Thursday to convey condolences on behalf of the government and people of China upon the unfortunate fire incidents in Karachi and Lahore. He conveyed that it was a great tragedy and as a token of sympathy, he presented cheques of worth Rs 3 million on behalf of the Chinese government for the families of victims.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued on Thursday, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said, "We were deeply shocked to learn that two fires, in Karachi and Lahore, have according to the latest report, resulted in the deaths of more than 200 people.
In these painful circumstances, we extend our condolences to the families and friends of the victims." In a another statement by US Consulate General in Lahore, Consul General Nina Fite extended condolences on behalf of the consulate and the American people. She said, "I would like to offer our deepest condolences to the victims of the tragic fire incidents that together claimed so many innocent lives."