Tuesday July 23, 2024

Death toll in Hyderabad cylinder blast rises to seven

By Aftab Ahmed
June 01, 2024
A firefighter douses water in an attempt to extinguish fire at LPG gas shop after cylinder explosion in Hyderabads Paretabad area on May 30, 2024. — INP
A firefighter douses water in an attempt to extinguish fire at LPG gas shop after cylinder explosion in Hyderabad's Paretabad area on May 30, 2024. — INP

HYDERABAD: The death toll from the twin blasts in a shop of gas cylinders in Preetabad, a densely populated area of Hyderabad, rose to seven on Friday.

The back-to-back explosions in the liquefied petroleum gas shop after a gas leak had left 63 people injured, most of them women and children, on Thursday evening. When bodies of seven children were brought home from hospitals on Friday, the parents, other residents of the neighborhood, and the city of Hyderabad all mourned their tragic deaths.

According to Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner Zainul Abideen Memon, 63 people were injured in the cylinder blasts, of which 32 were shifted to Karachi, 10 are under treatment at the Civil Hospital Hyderabad and another 21 with minor injuries have been treated and discharged.

He further said that seven of the burn victims who had been transferred to Karachi died. The dead were identified as eight-year-old Ali Hasan, 10-year-old Ayan, 10-year-old Azan, six-year-old Hussain, 15-year-old Bilal, 10-year-old Rahim, and 11-year-old Abdul Hadi.

After the Friday prayers in the Pretabad area, the dead bodies were brought from the mortuary, and after people offered the funeral prayers of the children separately at the Eidgah ground and on the adjoining road, the victims were buried in a local graveyard with sighs and sobs.

Representatives of police, political and religious parties, and civil society, including DIG Tariq Razzaq Dharijo, SSP Farrukh Lanjar, Mayor Kashif Shoro, Deputy Mayor Sagheer Qureshi, participated in the funeral prayers

Mayor Kashif Shoro and Deputy Mayor Sagheer Qureshi were surrounded by some people, who shouted slogans in protest. The protesters demanded that the mayor should go back and resign from the post because he was “responsible for the incident”.

The DIG and the SSP of Hyderabad were provided with security due to sloganeering. Later, after offering the funeral prayers, the mayor and officers left. MQM-Pakistan representatives MNA Waseem Hussain, MNA Abdul Aleem Khanzada, MPA Rashid Khan and MPA Nasir Qureshi held a press conference at the Hyderabad Press Club. MNA Waseem Hussain said that despite the population of Pretabad town being more than 600,000, the fire brigade station there had been closed a few months ago by Mayor Kashif Shoro due to which the fire caused by the explosion could not be extinguished in time. He claimed that six fire brigades of Hyderabad were not made active.

MQM members demanded that the mayor should resign, and the FIR of the Pretabad incident should be registered against him. They demanded that Rs5 million be announced for the family of each dead boy and two million for the injured persons so that the sufferings of the victims could be eased.

Mayor Kashif Ali Shoro termed the Preetabad incident as very sad. The Mayor Secretariat of the Municipal Corporation Hyderabad issued an explanatory statement saying that instead of helping or sympathizing with the victims of the cylinder accident, the elected representatives of the MQM-Pakistan showed their sick mentality by pointing the accusing finger at the administration.

The statement said the opponents had not stopped their politics of opposition for the sake of opposition, as always, where the entire city is depressed, the opponents are trying to revive their outdated politics.

Sindh Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf President Haleem Adil Shaikh also visited the victims of the cylinder blast and expressed his condolences. Addressing a press conference at the Ghamman House, Hyderabad, he said a tragic incident of a cylinder blast had taken place in Hyderabad, many lives had been lost, and many people had been injured. He expressed his sympathies to the victims.

Sheikh asked, “Who is responsible? Who will check such gas cylinders?” Who is responsible for allowing cylinder shops to open in urban areas? He said the fire brigade and ambulances did not arrive on time, which caused more damage. Incidents of cylinder blasts are happening regularly, but no action is taken by the government.

On the orders of Deputy Commissioner Zain-ul-Abideen, 48 shops of LPG gas cylinders in Latifabad, Qasimabad, City, and rural tehsils were sealed and three people were arrested. According to the DC, a list of the dead and injured had been prepared, and financial assistance for the injured and heirs of the dead will be recommended from the chief minister.

The president of the Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Adeel Siddiqui, and other business organisations appealed to the people of Hyderabad to stop their activities from morning till 2pm on Saturday to express their condolences to the families of the dead as well as to the injured.