Islamabad - Shifa International, one of the largest private sector hospitals in Islamabad, has not been complying with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Building Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations, thus putting lives of thousands of patients and visitors at risk.

The civic agency has time and again asked the management of the hospital to plug the loopholes but the latter paid no heed to the directions, suggest the documents available with The Nation. The situation is the same since 2012 when the CDA took notice of the shortcomings at the premises when it comes to life safety measures. Several notices were issued to the hospital management and final show-cause notice was sent in May 2015. The notice said that the owner of the occupancy has enormously failed to comply with the requirements and obligations of “CDA Building Standards for Fire Prevention and Life Safety, 2010.”

The documents show that there had been series of inspections since 2012 till 2017 followed by notices, checklists, assessments, and warnings which all were treated by the hospital management heedlessly, said a letter sent to the hospital management days earlier.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the hospital daily besides the patients, staff, doctors whose lives are at risk due to insufficient measures to save lives in case of a disaster. The management is under strict obligation to conform to the standards.

The notice said that incessant failure on the part of the management for the last five years is a sufficient evidence to impose a penalty on it up to Rs50,000 followed by fine of Rs3,000 per day from the date of first notice till the final compliance. CDA has once again directed the management to comply with the regulations and install the required equipment otherwise; it said the matter would be dealt under clause 5, 6 and 9 of the regulations which may lead to sealing the building.

Meanwhile, Islamabad Mayor and CDA Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz has said that the implementation of Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations, 2010 would be ensured. He said that consolidated steps are being taken to upgrade and strengthen Emergency and Disaster Management (E&DM) Directorate of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad. The mayor expressed these views while chairing a meeting held at CDA Headquarters. The meeting reviewed the performance of E&DM Directorate.

On this occasion, Aziz was apprised that during the month of March, 47 occupancies were inspected to check safety measures under the Islamabad Fire Prevention and Life Safety Regulations, 2010. In this connection, 19 notices, 19 show-cause/final warning notices, four advisory reports, and three checklists were issued in addition to the issuance of two NOCs/plan approvals.

The mayor also directed the concerned officers to ensure the latest training of officers and technical staff of E&DM at local and international levels so that they could be equipped with modern technical knowledge of how to control the situation in any emergency.

When contacted, Shifa hospital spokesperson Azmatullah Qureshi said that the management has always tried to comply with the safety standards introduced by the CDA. When his attention was invited towards the loopholes pointed out by the directorate of the civic agency, he assured that shortcomings in this regard, if any, would also be overcome in the shortest possible time.