Another unfortunate fire

TWO people lost their life and property worth hundreds of millions of rupees was destroyed when a mysterious fire erupted at five storey building of Awami Markaz near Pakistan Secretariat in Islamabad on Sunday. This is the second major incident of fire in the Federal Capital after a blaze at Sunday Bazaar gutted over 500 stalls last month.
Two inquiries have been ordered to pin-point the cause of fire, which has initially been attributed to short circuiting, loopholes in meeting such situations and how to prevent fire and effectively tackle the challenge in future. But it is quite obvious that nothing would compensate the damage already done to dozens of tenets and their businesses. Short-circuiting is both the lamest as well as strongest excuse to shift the burden of responsibility and slackness on part of all those who were supposed to have taken timely measures to prevent the loss. Awami Markaz housed some of the very prestigious offices, the Centre of Excellence of CPEC being on the top, besides the office of the Federal Tax Ombudsman and those of 26 IT companies, who set up their business at the building declared as IT Park having some of the finest facilities and a beautiful environment and surroundings. If it was short-circuiting, one is constrained to ask why wiring and cabling was not done properly and checked regularly. There are also strong possibilities that the fire may have been caused due to some mischief to cause harm to CPEC or burn record of tax ombudsman or to hide something else and that is why the lean day of Sunday was chosen so that rescue could take longer time and that is what happened actually. Officials are not ready to admit any damage to CPEC centre but shifting of its office to Pak-China Friendship Centre means the physical infrastructure has been destroyed and one can imagine the cost of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Similarly, despite burning of the National Assembly Hall and widespread destruction caused by fire at Shaheed-i-Millat Secretariat, no worthwhile arrangements have been made by CDA to upgrade fire services in the Capital. Fire-fighting engines are often found out of order, equipment faulty and staff absent from their duty. We hope the inquiry committees would take all these issues into consideration and an extensive plan of action prepared to address all aspects of the problem.

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