Karachi Mall Fire: Negligence Case Against K-Electric and Fire Department
Karachi Mall Fire: Negligence Case Against K-Electric and Fire Department

Karachi police have filed a case of ‘criminal negligence’ against K-Electric, the city’s primary power supply company, and the fire department following a tragic fire that engulfed a shopping mall in the southern Pakistani metropolis on Saturday, claiming the lives of 11 individuals.

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Incidents of this nature are unfortunately common in Karachi, the vast capital of the southern Sindh province with a population of nearly 15 million people.

This recent fire at the multi-story RJ Mall, housing call centers and software firms, prompted the police report to reveal that substandard materials were employed in the mall’s construction. Despite glaring safety violations, the builders secured approvals from both K-Electric and the Fire Department.

The police report, disclosed to the media on Sunday, accused the entities of collusion, constructing the building unlawfully, using substandard materials, and negligence—all leading to the tragic loss of lives and injuries to several others.

The complainant, police officer Sadaruddin Mirani, highlighted the absence of safety equipment and emergency exits in the mall, invoking sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, including 322 (manslaughter) and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy property).

Zafar Mahesar, the police chief of District East, announced the formation of an inquiry committee to investigate the incident, emphasizing that the FIR is the initial report. He expressed the intention to scrutinize the organizations that approved the building and take appropriate action against them.

In response to the recurring incidents of fires attributed to lapses in the city’s inspection system, Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Maqbool Baqar has mandated a safety audit of commercial buildings, public spaces, and offices. Karachi, as Pakistan’s primary commercial hub, hosts numerous industrial units and towering buildings. However, with only 22 fire stations, a limited number of functional fire tenders, and a relatively small firefighting force, the city faces significant inadequacies in addressing the numerous fire incidents it encounters annually.

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