KARACHI - Sindh Information and Local Bodies Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon on Thursday formed a two-member committee to find reasons behind the fire incident, evaluate loss suffered by the affectees and would submit their report in a week.

The committee comprises the commissioner and the administrator.

Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference at the commissioner office, he said the government would compensate the loss suffered by the people in Timber Market fire but those who were using this incident for politics were adding salt to the injuries of the people.

“Within half an hour, 28 fire brigade vehicles reached the spot to extinguish the fire. Six lakhs gallon water was provided by the KWSB to the fire tenders,” he said. All the municipal officials were in contact with each other when the incident occurred along with the visits by the Karachi Commissioner, provincial minister Javed Nagori and the concerned staff.

He brushed aside MQM’s allegations of mismanagement, saying due to the civic bodies’ efforts, they were able to get complete control on the fire by 10:30am.  

He said they were facing several problems in the municipal departments of the city and issue of ghost employees was the one that tops the list.

“Majority of the ghost employees belongs to MQM and the party’s former coordination committee members Khalid Sultan and Adil Khan were the ghost employees in the KWSB,” he said. Soon he would reveal that how many active political leaders were present in South Africa, Dubai and other countries. “I am thankful to Altaf Hussain that he urged the employees to return to their duties but still they are absent,” he said. He did not want to remove all the ghost employees, belonging to a political party, as their friends would get angry. He appealed toi Altaf Hussain to direct the ghost employees to resume their duties.

Memon said he had brought the issue of ghost employees in the knowledge of Sindh Governor Ishratul Ebad.

He said Karachi was not the city of orphans. “It is our city and we own it. PPP government is launching mega projects including the elevated expressway and dual carriageway which connect National Highway with the Super Highway.

Memon also thanked Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah for approving a summary to procure small-sized fire tenders worth Rs350 million. “We were purchasing fire tenders but the court has stayed the move,” he said.

Reacting to MQM’s demand for his resignation, he said when May 12 and 12th Rabiul Awwal incidents occurred in the city, none of the ministers including the home minister of that time resigned from his post. “If resignations can sort out the problems then I am ready for it,” he said.  

Earlier, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui visited the affected area but had to leave early due to estranged residents. The commissioner left from the site without providing any answers pertaining to the concerns of the residents.

It is pertinent to mention here that rift among the political parties has caused failure of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and the city administration as the authorities have failed to pay attention over the dilapidated condition of Fire Brigade Department.

Moreover, shortage of funds, unavailability of fuel and modern equipment in fire brigade department has witnessed tragic loss of human lives in Baldia factory incident. Huge financial loss occurred in the current fire incident at Timber Market.