One of the most tragic incidents of 2017 took place when the Awami Markaz in Islamabad caught fire. A six story building in Islamabad which was home to almost 25 companies with 1000 employees tragically caught fire during broad daylight.
As the building started burning, people were still trapped inside. Almost everyone escaped, except three very unfortunate people who lost their lives. Umar Ejaz Malik, Ali Raz, and one more person could not make it out of the building and had to resort to jumping from the windows. Ali and Umar were employees inside the building, working for a call-center company called Outpost.
Waqar, another unfortunate soul who lost his life, hailed from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir. While Ali and Umar jumped to their deaths, Waqar died of extreme heat and suffocation from the unearthly smoke. Umar Ejaz Malik is the last of the three to pass away, as he was admitted in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences after jumping from the top floor of Awami Markaz.
People standing under the burning building tried to catch Umer but his weight overpowered their plans and he hit the ground. The video of the incident went viral and the issue caught Pakistan’s attention at max.
The questions then were thrown towards the Islamabad administration of how for almost 3 hours, no fire brigade could reach the building. The official statement to the public was that the fire fighters had arrived in an hour, however, people who were present at the location ridiculed the statement saying that it took them 3 hours — which is an extremely long and painful time for the people inside.
People on social media are also questioning the facilities present inside the Awami Markaz, whether the building had a single fire extinguisher or not? Furthermore, conspiracy theories have also started to appear on the internet regarding some confidential and/or important documents being deliberately burned.
As reported by Express Tribune, “It was also reported that records belonging to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were destroyed in the fire but a tweet from Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria laid these claims to rest. He clarified that there was a small research unit at the markaz which was digitally backed up at Planning, Development and Reforms Division, hence no data was lost.”
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Umar Ejaz Malik, Ali Raza, and Waqar’s families must be in a painful condition right now but they have every right in the world to demand justice for their boys. The negligence and untimely help could not save these three young lads, reminding us of the devastating Grenfell Towers fire in the United Kingdom.