Three more bodies were recovered on Sunday from the debris of a building that fell in Karachi’s Gulbahar area earlier this week, bringing the death toll to 25.
On Thursday, the residential building had fallen on two adjacent structures, bringing them to the ground as well, killing 14 people and inuring at least 17 others. Since then, bodies of multiple victims have been retrieved from the debris while a boy was pulled out alive from the rubble on Saturday.
However, seven to eight people still remain trapped underneath the collapsed building, according to the spokesperson of Edhi Foundation Saad Edhi. “The rescue operation is ongoing and we have reached the ground floor. The rescuers have apprehensions some seven to eight people are still trapped […] they might be alive.”
The spokesperson added that the area was congested so more heavy machinery could not be brought in to help with rescue efforts. A rescue team of the Pakistan Army cordoned off the area while the workers at the site said that the rescue operation is expected to be completed by Sunday evening.
Preliminary investigation suggests builder’s fault
A preliminary investigation suggested that the builder had allegedly carried out major excavation work at the foundation and tried to erect additional pillars to support the existing pillars. He did it to strengthen the building structure and prevent it from collapsing.
Rizvia Society police station investigation officer Agha Amir told Dawn that the owner, Mohammed Javed Khan, had started construction work on a fifth floor when the building cracked.
Govt authorities take notice
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Friday had taken notice of the building collapse and directed Commissioner Karachi to ensure that rescue and relief operations were executed smoothly in the area.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, while taking notice of the incident, had ordered that the injured be provided the best possible medical care.
Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Mahar had also directed Central Senior Superintendent of Police Mohammad Arif Aslam Rao to head the rescue operation in the area, according to a police press release. A contingent of police and Rangers was dispatched to the area to help with the rescue operation.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also took notice of the building collapse and asked Commissioner Karachi and Sindh Building Control Authority to compile detailed reports on the incident.
On Friday, a case was registered at Rizvia Police Station in Karachi in the state’s name against the building owner. The first information report includes clauses 322 (causing death without intention), 119 (Qisas), 337 (causing bodily harm), 427 (mischief causing material damage) and 190 (aiding and abetting) of the Pakistan Penal Code.