Three labourers die, five injured in wall collapse

Victims were sleeping on rooftop of building in the wee hours of Saturday


Muhammad Shahzad May 21, 2017
Victims were sleeping on rooftop of building in the wee hours of Saturday. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Three labourers died and five others were injured when a parapet of an under-construction building at Iron Bazaar collapsed after a strong thunderstorm hit the city in the wee hours of Saturday.

The Misri Shah police said the victims worked as labourers and were sleeping on the rooftop of the building when the protective wall fell on them and they were trapped under the debris. On hearing the screams of the labourers, the residents in the neighbourhood called the police.

Rescue teams reached the site and pull the trapped labourers out of the debris. They were taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced three of them dead. The deceased were identified as Irfan, Yaseen and Bashir.

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The police said Irfan belonged to Nankana Sahib, Yasin was a resident of Bahawalpur and Bashir was from Pakpattan. Three of the injured men were identified as Nauman, Mohsin Ali and Shahid Iqbal.

A witness said he lived near the under-construction site and was resting when the weather turned pleasant because of the strong winds. “Just as I closed my eyes I heard a loud noise similar to a blast and then the screams,” he said, adding that he ran towards the scene and came to know about the tragic incident.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Maqsood Ahmad, a member of the Red Workers Front [RWF], a labour organisation, said: “Such incidents take place due to poor working conditions and employers are responsible for such tragedies.”

Similarly, another labour rights activist, Adeel Zaidi, who works for the International Marxist Tendency, said the owners of the buildings did not want to provide safety to labourers to maximise their profits. “Out of greed, they [the owners] don’t spend money on the provision of safety to workers at workplaces and that leads to such tragic incidents,” he added. “The working conditions at factories are terrible,” he noted, adding that there was no labour inspection and the government never bothered to ensure implementation of safety codes.

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Police have registered a case against the owners of the building named Kashif and Ghaffar under Section 322 (Qatal-e-Khatta) of Pakistan Penal Code. “We are investigating the case,” a police officer said.

Unfortunately, this is not the first incident that claimed labourers lives at their workplace. This year, in January at least seven labourers had lost lives when a fire had broken out at their workplace within the jurisdiction of Manawan police.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2017.

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