The dangerous gas cylinder

March 24, 2024

A fact-finding committee has been constituted to investigate the gas cylinder explosion that killed nine

The dangerous gas cylinder


ine people, including seven of the same family, were killed when a gas cylinder exploded in a three-storey building which collapsed on top of another in Mohallah Jogianwala, last week.

“Naseeb-ur Rehman Khan, my cousin, brought home a locally manufactured gas cylinder,” said Hakeem Sajjad Awan, “…he was trying to save every penny he could so he could take his kids out for Eid shopping. Maybe that’s why he decided to buy a cheap cylinder. How could he have known?”

Musarrat Bibi, married to Khan, is one of the survivors. She is under treatment at Nishtar Burn Hospital.

According to Awan, she is in a critical state and hasn’t been told about the rest of her family. “The doctors haven’t told her yet that her husband and children are dead. Her blood pressure has been fluctuating so they have kept quiet [about the incident].”

“People are forced to turn to cheaper alternatives. They have no other choice. That happens when their purchasing power diminishes. Inflation is at the root of this,” says economist Ibrar Aabi.

When the natural gas tariff increased, many people started using Liquefied Petroleum Gas because it was cheaper. LPG cylinders became commonplace and, with the passage of time, traders started selling low-quality gas cylinders to meet the increasing demand. With an increase in the use of low-quality cylinders, there has been a spike in gas cylinder-related accidents.

Substandard cylinders are fitted with faulty valves that leak. They also lack safety badges. Most users are unaware of the hazards of using such cylinders.

Sale of substandard gas cylinders is rampant in not only Multan but also other cities. Last week in Rawalpindi, four gas explosions in different parts of the city killed two children and injured many.

Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz posted about the incident on X and directed the commissioner to submit a detailed report about the incident. However, no formal inquiry has been initiated. Instead, a fact-finding committee led by the Multan additional deputy commissioner general and including the City tehsil assistant commissioner, the municipal officer in charge of infrastructure), the MCM and the SDO Buildings-I, has been constituted by Deputy Commissioner Rizwan Qadeer.

The committee has been instructed to provide an overview of the incident, to investigate technical flaws that resulted in the collapse of the building and to calculate/ assess the financial assistance needed for the families and building structure as per the government policies. The deputy commissioner has asked the committee to submit its report in 48 hours.

TNS contacted committee’s convener, ADC (G) Muhammad Saif, and sought a copy of the fact-finding report. However, he refused to provide it, saying that the report was classified and that it had been sent to the CM.

Some senior public servants have said that a formal inquiry should have been ordered.

Officials at the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority said that the authority was responsible for monitoring the manufacture of gas cylinders. If the OGRA finds that the manufacturers are not complying with quality standards or are selling cylinders at too high a price, it informs the district administration. Ultimately, the deputy commissioners take action.

According to the officials, the OGRA writes letters to the provincial administrations and requests that action be taken against LPG distributors who are not selling LPG in cylinders according to notified standards. It also writes letters to report black marketing of gas cylinders. The relevant deputy commissioners are responsible for action against such dealers.

The OGRA documents available with The News on Sunday include a list of authorised manufacturers in Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi.

The OGRA has warned these companies to ensure compliance with safety standards. It says that the consumers should ensure that LPG cylinders and relief valves are painted properly and not damaged. Cylinders should be stored in well-ventilated areas, away from anything that can start a fire. The cylinders should be stored upright. Empty cylinders should be labelled and stored as carefully as those that carry fuel because they may have residual gas in them. It is important to keep the valves on empty cylinders shut.

The writer is the bureau chief of The News in Multan. He may be reached at

The dangerous gas cylinder