ISLAMABAD: The Karachi police have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) into Thursday’s building collapse that claimed 17 lives so far.
However, no arrest has yet been made in this regard by Saturday.
The victims’ relatives and residents of the Golimar (Gulbahar) area where the five-storey building collapsed on Thursday have alleged it was only an attempt to buy time.
In the FIR, they allege, police have nominated only the owner of the building and there was no mention of the official(s) of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) responsible for the negligence.
Meanwhile, search for more bodies continued on Saturday and the local residents and the rescue workers feared toll could increase as there might be more bodies under the debris.
The building collapsed upon three other adjacent buildings, turning all the four structures into rubble. According to the City police Chief Ghulam Nabi Memon, an FIR has been lodged against the owner though no one had so far been arrested in the case. “We will wait till findings of the inquiry committee are released,” he added.
Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, while hearing Karachi Circular Railway case, also questioned the performance of the municipal department of the city government, saying all provincial institutions were corrupt.
Ahmad, who was hearing a case pertaining to encroachments at the Supreme Court Karachi Registry, said a building collapsed in the metropolis, people died but no one showed any concern.
The CJP inquired from Advocate General Sindh Salman Talibuddin about the progress in the Circular Railway project. The advocate general told the court that mass transit plan has been formed and the Green Line Bus and the Orange Line projects have been completed.
Justice Gulzar Ahmad stressed that Karachi needed compact projects, tall buildings are made on small plots and all obsolete buses of the country are being used.
The court was told that FIR had been registered on behalf of the state through an inspector against the owner and builder of the building, Mohammed Javed Khan, and officials of the departments concerned.
The case has been registered under sections 322 (punishment for qatl-bis-sabab), 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent), 337-H (punishment for hurt by rash or negligent act), 427 (mischief causing damage) 109 (punishment of abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Meanwhile, at funeral prayer for four members of a family who lost their lives in the incident, residents termed the provincial government incompetent and the officials of the SBCA corrupt and on the “pay list of the land mafia”.
Abdul Ghafoor Noorani, a neighbour living in a flat close to the collapsed building, told Gulf News there were no checks and balances with regard to the mushrooming construction of multi-storied buildings. SBCA officials and municipal department easily get bribed and let people construct floors after floors. “The building codes violations are common and the Supreme Court needs to take notice of that,” said Safiya Bibi a resident of Golimar. If corrective measures are not taken it might result into more such tragedies, she said.
Dr Farooq Sattar, former mayor of Karachi and leader of his own faction of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who also attended funeral prayers, said the tragedy was the outcome of the “activities of mafias”. He claimed low-quality material was being used for construction of multistorey buildings.