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April 7, 2020

Court rejects post-arrest bail application of Golimar building owner

Karachi

April 7, 2020

A district & sessions court on Monday dismissed the bail application moved by the owner of the Golimar building that had collapsed last month, killing 27 people and injuring some two dozen others.

The court rejected the plea for post-arrest bail by the builder, namely Javed, observing that prima facie, sufficient evidences were available to show that he had constructed the building illegally.

The five-storey building had collapsed on March 5. A case was registered under the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 322 (manslaughter), 119 (public servant concealing design to commit offence which it is his duty to prevent), 337-H (punishment for hurt by rash or negligent act), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention).

The police had registered the first information report on behalf of the state against the builder and officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).

Javed, according to the investigating officer, had revealed the names of the SBCA officials involved in the illegal construction. The IO said the authority’s chief had been intimated about the involvement of the named officers and their arrests will be made accordingly.

The builder Javed, his accomplices Hanif and Younus, and SBCA officials, Sarfaraz Jamali, Irfan Ali and Mansoor Qureshi, have been accused of manslaughter and mischief.

According to the prosecution, the building was constructed illegally with the connivance of the SBCA officials who had approved the plan in exchange for kickbacks and deliberately ignored the flaws in its structure that later proved devastating.

In the morning of the fateful day, the five-storey residential building in the 400 Quarters area of Golimar No. 2 had caved. The building, according to the SBCA’s Katchi Abadis Director Muhammad Raqeeb, was constructed in a well-planned area, which could not be considered a Katchi Abadi (squatter settlement).

The first building that collapsed, according to the SBCA, was built some 25 years ago. A homoeopathic clinic had been functional on the ground floor of the building. The building first tilted and damaged a three-floor residential building constructed adjacent to it, which then damaged another neighbouring two-floor residential building. An additional sixth floor was being added to the first building when it collapsed, SBCA Additional Director Ashkar Dawar told The News.

He said that one of the major reasons for the building’s collapse seemed to be the inadequate drainage of sewage in the vicinity. The first building to collapse, Dawar said, had been constructed illegally on an 80-square-yard plot.

Talking to the media, he said that such buildings continue to be constructed throughout the city. “We demolish two buildings, and 10 more are erected behind our backs,” he said, adding that the menace of illegal buildings is spreading in the city rapidly.

The SBCA’s inspectors are responsible for monitoring such constructions across the city. “They must inspect and report to the building authority,” he said, adding that he has already fired the deputy and assistant directors of the SBCA of Liaquatabad Town, where the incident occurred.