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'Criminal negligence': Around 90pc buildings in Karachi sans firefighting system

ANI | Updated: Nov 24, 2023 14:55 IST

Karachi [Pakistan], November 24 (ANI): City planners, engineers, and building experts emphasised that approximately 90 per cent of structures in Karachi lack fire prevention and firefighting systems, Dawn reported.
The concern was raised during the National Fire Safety Symposium and Risk Based Awards organised by the Fire Protection Association of Pakistan (FPAP).
The experts collectively deemed this situation as "criminal negligence" by regulatory bodies, including the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), putting millions of lives at risk in the metropolis, as reported by Dawn.
Experts highlighted that the absence of defined building code adherence in the construction of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings was a major factor contributing to fire accidents. They referred to data indicating that over 15,000 people lose their lives annually, with financial losses exceeding a trillion rupees due to fires, particularly in urban areas.

The symposium brought together experts from across Pakistan who presented papers and shared experiences related to fire prevention and safety. The consensus was that rapid urbanisation without adherence to building codes poses serious threats to lives. Urging the government to act swiftly, they called for the effective implementation of fire prevention and firefighting laws.
Sindh caretaker Minister for Industries, Commerce, and Revenue Younus Dagha acknowledged the severity of the issue and suggested that the number of buildings without fire prevention and fighting systems could be as high as 90 per cent. He pledged to discuss and approve proposals for fire prevention and fighting in the upcoming SITE board meeting, according to Dawn.
Junaid Ali Shah, caretaker Minister for Sports, Culture, and Youth Affairs, emphasised the lack of firefighting systems in hospitals and educational institutions, contributing to preventable fire incidents. FAPF president Kunwar Wasim criticised the slow implementation of the Building Code Fire Safety Prevention, prepared in 2016, and highlighted the inaction of regulatory bodies like SBCA.
Tariq Moin, director training and projects of FPAP, raised concerns about the ineffectiveness of fire protection equipment in many buildings, stating that they were often installed to meet legal requirements rather than for actual safety.
Fawad Barry of Haseen Habib, a fire safety equipment provider, highlighted the staggering human and financial toll of fire incidents, with an estimated 15,000 deaths and over a trillion rupees in losses annually, Dawn reported. (ANI)