KARACHI: Forty-eight-year-old Muhammad Ilyas Babar, who was a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal 13-D, lost his life while battling to save the lives of his colleagues and rescuing people during the Regent Plaza Hotel fire incident on Monday.
The deceased was a father of two, Laiba and Bilal, and he was also responsible for the upbringing of two the children of his late brother, who died from a heart attack two months ago. Babar, who was the only bread winner of his family, had three sisters and was also bearing the expenses of his two widowed sisters.
Babar was appointed night duty manager at the hotel on November 15 this year, after returning to Karachi from Sudan, and started working in the 11pm till 8am shift. Earlier, Babar had served in different departments of the Pearl Continental Hotel for about 22 years, said his nephew, Zafar Rasheed. He added that Babar went to Sudan for two years but came back due to his 80-year-old mother’s illness, who is suffering from cancer, because there was no one else to look after her.
“He died due to suffocation [because of the fire and smoke],” claimed Rasheed, adding that during the last call he made, Babar said he was unable to breathe or see anything and felt like he was about to faint. The night when the hotel caught fire, Babar called one of his friends to tell him that he has been stuck in the hotel due to the fire and is trying to save people and trying to get out, narrated his brother-in-law, Khalid.
“No one from the hotel staff told us anything, we were informed through the media and some friends,” lamented Khalid.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2016.