Is public safety matter?

The caretaker Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Baqir has directed the Sindh Building Control Authority, PDMA, Civil Defence, and deputy commissioners to carry out safety audits of all public and commercial buildings, educational institutions, and government offices and submit their report along with recommendations within a stipulated period. The provincial Chief Executive’s order comes after at least 11 people died and 40 others sustained burn injuries after a fire erupted inside the RJ Shopping Mall due to a short circuit a day earlier.

Karachi, the country’s economic hub with a population of 20.3 million, is home to a sky touching residential complexes, a network of scattered factories and industrial zones, and high-rise commercial plazas, but the city’s firefighting infrastructure, building safety measures, and emergency plans are inadequate to deal with fires emergencies, and other calamities. According to the experts, about 90 per cent of all structures in Karachi whether residential, commercial or industrial lack fire prevention, firefighting systems and emergency evacuation facilities that is grave negligence of the relevant departments and often leads to major casualties and causes embarrassment at the national level.

During the recent incident, the fire erupted on the fourth floor of RJ Shopping Mall and later engulfed the whole plaza, people could not escape and deaths occurred because of no ventilation and the absence of an emergency exit, emergency stairs/ doorways. The FIR of the incident has been registered against the building owner, K-Electric, SBCA and other departments involved in the issuance of NOC and authorization of Construction without the fulfilment of essential criteria. In fact, this was not the first incident of its kind, while a massacre occurs every other day due to no implementation of the law and negligence/ complicity of government institutions. Over the years no improvement/change could ever be brought in the situation, which clearly means that public safety is neither a priority to the leaders, nor it matters for the institutions. So far, it remains an unsolved puzzle who and how the psyche and nature of this nation would change?