The incident of the carousel collapsing in Askari Amusement Park and resulting in the death of a teenaged girl, is another manifestation of extreme negligence.
Unsurprisingly, the enquiry report highlights the use of substandard and obsolete parts used in setting up the collapsed ride, signalling severe negligence and liability of the park management. It also calls attention the glaring absence of a working chain of authority, where such commercial projects should come under the avid purview and checks of the relevant department of the municipal authority yet remain bereft of regulation.
Amusement parks remain a popular recreational space in Pakistan, especially in the middle and minor income strata where the ‘mela’ is an annual merriment. Yet the lower ticket-price means low cost rides being used as well as minimal expense on maintenance. Such parks have not been established under proper checks and regulation or held to liabilities. Amusement parks like Askari are larger enterprises and should hold-up to safety standards. Yet the park administration does not have any proper arrangement for rescue efforts or first aid. With flawed equipment, unregulated and unmaintained machinery, absence of safety guidelines and protocols, and an all-around unqualified staff, it is answerable for the lives it has endangered. While the park’s management has been duly charged with “unintentional murder”, the police must also look into whether the parents of the deceased girl are being coerced into refusing to register an FIR against the park management.
While in Askari’s case, the onus is being placed on the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Sindh Building Control Authority to appoint a technical team to investigate the matter, such commercial ventures have to have air-tight security and safety checks before the gates are opened for the public. Ultimately permits for such set-ups should be incumbent on passing inspection and quality standards, which should be regulated by the municipal and building authority as per international standards and regularly inspected by respective teams, to ensure such tragedies do not repeat themselves.