KARACHI: Around half-a-dozen shops were completely gutted by a fire that broke out in Aladin Park’s shopping mall in Gulshan-e-Iqbal on Sunday.
The six shops, that sold various items such as artificial jewellery, tableware, gifts and toys, were burnt to ashes when a fire broke out on the night between Saturday and Sunday.
Fire tenders reached the site and extinguished the fire after struggling for hours; however, goods worth millions of rupees were completely destroyed. The other six shops remained safe in the incident. Fire-fighters say that the cause of the fire has yet to be ascertained.
Following the incident, the shops’ owners reached the site and held the park administration responsible for the fire. They said that the fire had been started deliberately as they refused to evacuate the spot. “We were asked by the administration to evacuate the shops by December 30,” claimed one of the shopkeepers. “We were also warned that our shops will be set on fire if we did not leave Aladin.”
The shopkeepers had also staged a protest against the administration a couple of days ago. The All Karachi Tajir Ittehad chairperson, Atiq Mir told The Express Tribune that nothing could be said about the cause of the fire at the moment. “There are suspicions and we cannot rule out the possibility of a criminal act,” he said.
For their part, the park administration vehemently refuted the allegations made against them. “Of course we are unhappy about the fire and equally share their grief,” said the general manager, Colonel (retd) Fakhare Azam Khattak, while talking to The Express Tribune.
He clarified that the administration was not against the owners but were against the wood shops and they had already compensated the shops’ owners by shifting their shops into the park mall.
Police said they were waiting for the results of the investigation to decide whether a case will be registered regarding the incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2014.
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