What looks to be a scene out of a dystopian film, is currently a horrible reality for residents of the Keamari area in Karachi. 14 have already lost their lives to what the government believes is a toxic gas leak, although there is currently no information as to how this happened. In fact, there is scant little information coming in from the state. The provincial government and health authorities have so far not even been able to identify where the leak originates from – which is troubling in the extreme.

Mystery and confusion currently surrounds the gas leak in Karachi. But answers are needed promptly. The government only issued orders for evacuation yesterday, which in itself is a glaring oversight. The protest in Jackson Market in Keamari is a direct indication of public mood in this issue. Exceptional circumstances such as this one require swift action, which has not been on display on this occasion.

The provincial department of health believes that the report due in the next two days will allow for an explanation, but from the complete lack of any information coming in from the government, we can surmise that we are not much closer to getting the answers we want on this leak.

As a first priority, identifying what this gas is and where it originated from must be explained by the government in the next two days. The government is understandably worried about rumourmongering, but the only way to effectively counter any hearsay information is by presenting a well-researched and coherent response to the answers posed by those affected.

Once this is done, all those responsible for the death of innocent civilians must be held accountable. Accidents happen, but when they end up costing lives, head must roll. It is hoped we can get to the bottom of this soon.