ISLAMABAD: Following the devastating fire in Karachi, many political leaders have been quick to criticise the government and are commenting on different aspects of the accident, ostensibly to show sympathy with the victims’ families and to gain political mileage.
Now that the unfortunate tragedy has occurred, there can be no quarrel with compensating the families who have lost their earning members in it. As a matter of fact, the amount of compensation to the victims’ families should not remain limited to what the Sindh chief minister has announced. The families should be given additional compensation by the owners of the factory. Those responsible for conducting an inquiry into the tragedy should not lose sight of this aspect while finalising their report.
The most important thing the authorities should focus on is to compel the owners to reopen the factory at the earliest after putting in place all necessary safeguards and precautionary measures required under the laws for safe operations. This is not the first incident of its kind and it is likely that if we don’t learn any lessons, then it may happen again.
In the past as well, inquiries were ordered but their outcome was never made public. Periodic occurrence of such incidents is indicative of the fact that factory owners have not mended their ways and neither has the performance of the government authorities concerned improved over time. Let us hope and pray that this Karachi factory inferno succeeds in really waking all of us up and jolts us into getting our act together.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.