Atleast 25 people were killed with dozens other injured, some critically after a four-storey building of a factory collapsed in the Sundar Industrial Estate, 20 kilometer south of Lahore. As per reports construction work was ongoing on the fourth floor of the building which gave way, damaging the floors below and trapping dozens of workers under the rubble. Not even a small part of the four-storey building remained standing after the deadly disaster. According to officials at least 150 people were in the factory when the building collapsed.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that the factory may have suffered structural damage during the recent earthquake, but according to workers the owner continued to build an extension. According to some reports on social media some of the workers working in the factory were being a daily wage of only Rupees 200, way below the minimum wage. There are also reports that children were employed in the factory.
Pakistan has a poor safety record when it comes to construction and maintenance of buildings. 24 people were killed last year after a mosque collapsed in Lahore. Also more than 200 people lost their lives, mostly due to collapsed roofs, following torrential rain and flooding in 2014.
In 2012, 255 workers were killed after a fire tore through a clothing factory in Karachi; the incident was one of the deadliest industrial accidents in the country’s history. A judicial probe into the inferno was damning, and pointed to a lack of emergency exits, poor safety training of workers and the failure of government inspectors to spot any of these faults. The failure of Government departments in ensuring check and balance is a matter of grave concern and should be rectified on emergency basis.
Criminal negligence of Government departments in implementing building laws is a matter of grave concern.