The last two years saw incidents of deadly fires which destroyed many homes and the country is crying for workplace safety. While the new incoming government is busy in deciding on ministries and seats, the people are getting impatient for them to start some serious work, not to make anymore Metro Buses but to put in some strict ‘Workplace Safety Rules,’ all buildings should have a fire escape and fire extinguishers on all floors, staff should have regular fire drills.

September 11, 2012 over 1,000 workers reported for duty at Karachi’s Baldia garment factory, most for the last time in their lives. Till today, we are unclear over how many of them were there at the start of the day and how many were burnt alive in the tragic inferno, charred and unrecognizable bodies continuing to be unearthed days after the fire. The official death toll stopped at a vague and insensitive official note stating “over 300 people died in the fire”. That there were more who were still missing, bodies that were never identified or traced is hardly relevant to the capitalistic machinery that is interested solely in profits and deadlines. Clearly Pakistan learnt no lessons from the Baldia fire. Can there be any hope that might lead the struggle for workplace safety in this region?


Karachi, May 17.