LAHORE - At the time when almost everybody in the country is felicitating the happening of Pak-China economic corridor and our politicians are taking every bit of credit for bringing Rs46 billion investment in the country, nobody seems in a mood of reconstructing a local building known as LDA Plaza - once a hub of several businesses.

Formerly used as Lahore Development Authority headquarters, the plaza which is situated on Edgerton Road was wrecked by fire in 2013. Twenty five people died in the inferno.

No one claimed the responsibility, then. No one is bearing the heat for its reconstruction even now.

Although there are several development projects continued in the city under the flagship of LDA, when it comes to owing any mishap or negligence the authorities put their best efforts in shifting blames to others. Even though the LDA Plaza is known by the authority itself which owns three top floors, the situation is hanging in the balance about the fate of semi private building.

The building was constructed in public private partnership and besides LDA, a number of government, semi government and private companies including Punjab Small Industries, private banks and an insurance company contributed their due share in its construction.

Following the fire that erupted on May 9, 2013, the upper three portion of the nine-storey building were later on demolished by LDA.

Now the sources have revealed that the partner companies are seemingly reluctant to share the reconstruction expenses for the demolished floors.

“Although, the LDA authorities allocated about Rs100 million as its share for the reconstruction of the building’s damaged portions and asked the other partner companies to allocate amount of their share, they have not given any green signal in this regard. This is the reason for delay,” our sources added.

The LDA Plaza inferno not only took 25 precious lives – most of them were LDA employees – it also turned entire estate related record of LDA into ash.

Renowned journalist, Mr Najam Sethi was the caretaker chief minister who ordered an inquiry committee. Later on, the committee submitted its report in which it recommended the demolishment of 7th, 8th and 9th floor.

It was further observed that there was a lack of coordination between various departments during the rescue operation in the wake of the fire incident. Rusty wires and lack of repair were found as the causes of fire. Moreover, rescue operation through helicopters was hampered by towers installed at the roof of the plaza, the report added.

Safety arrangements at the LDA Plaza were also deemed to be unsatisfactory. There was no arrangement for an emergency exit for people trapped in the building.

The committee further recommended strict implementation of existing laws to check recurrence of such incidents in the future.

Besides the experts of inquiry committee, LDA engineers also declared the top three floors of the nine-storey building unsafe and a contractor was hired to demolish them.

However, many question were raised when the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), in its findings, concluded that “a small fire at the seventh floor of the same building was not an accident”.

The PFSA’s crime scene report supported the claims of DCO Naseem Sadiq that someone had brought important files to the seventh floor of the building - which was being prepared for the demolition of its top three floors - and set them on fire.

The agency’s report stated that the scene of the fire had been prepped to look like an accident. The report ruled out the possibility of short-circuiting or an overheated flood light as the cause of the fire, as was claimed by the Lahore Development Authority in a report issued in response to the DCO’s assertion.

Like every other incident in Pakistan, the tragedy is long gone and situation is far away from clarity while ill-fated deaths have been mourned over, and relatives compensated.

For now, business has to be run but a renewed building is still not in picture.