Class was the only common feature of 235 labourers burnt alive in Karachi factory fire – by Ali Arqam

ye khoon-e-khak nashinan tha rizq-e-khak hua

Karachi, the name synonymous with ‘Bad News’ is once again in the headlines, this time again for another tragedy, another sad story of human loss.

Ali Garments, a factory situated on Hub River road, RCD Highway in Baldia Town caught fire last evening (11 Sep 2012), the fire couldn’t be extinguished in 10 hours eventually burning 235 people alive.

Witnesses reported that the blaze spread at astounding speed, which left workers in the factory struggling to escape. The factory’s gates were closed, trapping workers inside. “I jumped from my seat as did others and rushed toward the windows, but iron bars on the windows barred us from escaping. Some of us quickly took tools and machines to break the iron bars,” Mohammad Ilyas, an injured factory worker told the AP. “That was how we managed to jump out of the windows down to the ground floor.” (Source; RT)

Who are the victims?

Facing the brutal tug of war among political groups formed on ethnic lines, politicking on financial resources, land distributions, the only victim is the common man, the working class labourers.

Living in the outskirts of the city, deprived of very basic necessities of life, water and electricity, health services and education, these labourers are facing unfavourable working conditions in the industrial sector. They have been killed in the streets of Karachi, due to their ethnic or racial features and residential addresses on their CNICs.

This time death came to them with a new face. The factory where they were working caught fire, the building as usual had no fire safety installations, the fire extenguishers hanged to the walls were not in working condition, the building design was not as per the industrial standards, and the result is at least 235 deaths by fire which did not discriminate among the labourers on the basis of skin color, mother tongue, sect and ethnic background. The only common feature of the burnt alive labourers in Karachi factory fire was their socio-economic class. Abject poverty was the bond which kept all of them together, in their working life and also in death.

Who is responsible for the man made disaster?

The industrial and manufacturing sector in Karachi and across Pakistan (with very few exceptions) is known for electricity and gas theft, tax evasion and paying huge amounts of bribes to respective departments for lack of safety measures, lack of facilities, unfavourable working conditions, Low wages, contract system for labourers.

On the other hands, they pay huge amounts as extortion money to the Police, MQM, ANP, PAC, Takfiri Jihadis and sectarian organisations. For these generosity, no one ask them about what they are doing to the labourers.

Who should be indicted?

Greedy urban mercantile class, the drawing room gossipers who have least regard for human life and human rights; relevant government departments; local unit/sector leaders of MQM and ANP, the thugs of Uzair Jan Baloch, Police officials and political representatives from the area.



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