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human tragedy remained out of the focus)
by URC Karachi
Resource CentreA-2/2, 2nd Floor, Westland Trade Centre, Commercial
Area, Shaheed-e-Millat Road,
Block 7 & 8 Karachi Pakistan, Tel: +92 21 - 4559317 Fax: 4387692
Web Site www.urckarachi.org
has also been documenting incidents of fire in Katchi Abadis (informal and
low income settlements) of Karachi since 1995. Since January ’97, a total
number of 1,806 huts were gutted in different settlements. These incidents
have rendered more than 12,204 people homeless. 19 minor children, four
young girls, two women and four men were also burnt alive in these
incidents, besides a number of severe physical injuries.
List of some incidents:
On 1st February 2007 as many as 17 huts out 50 gutted by fire
near Aziz Bhatti Park Gulshan-e-Iqbal
On 24th March 2007, at least five huts were burnt near Al-Asif
Square Sohrab Goth. Two fire tenders moved to the scene and extinguished
the fire but only after five huts were gutted.
On 10th April 2007 a fire erupted in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town when a
kerosene stove burst in a hut, reducing at least seven huts to ashes. The
fire broke out at around 3.35 p.m. in the hutment mostly occupied by
beggars, just opposite the Urdu Science College within Aziz Bhatti police
On 24th December 2006 some 25 huts were completely gutted when a
fire broke out in Sector-5C-2, area in New Karachi. 25 huts were
completely burnt in the fire while 100 remained safe and no casualty was
reported. The cause of the fire could not be determined.
On 20th November 2006 two young sisters died in a house fire in
Korangi. Their mother and brother have been admitted to the Civil Hospital
with severe burns. The two sisters were four and seven years old. The fire
broke out in a shanty town, damaging between 120 huts, occupied mostly by
Bangladeshi-origin people. According to community a property dispute could
be behind the arson attack.
On 31st October 2006 around 60 huts were gutted when a fire broke
out in Jumma Goth near Aladin Park in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. According to
community a fire sparked all of sudden, reducing more than 60 hutments to
Over 400 people residing in the burnt hutments were rendered homeless.
At least nine persons including six children burnt alive when fire
broke out in huts of Hawa Goth in Orangi Town Sector 11 ½, here on Friday
night 6th January 2006. According to Pakistan Bazar Police Station the
reason behind the blaze was not known. The bodies were sent to Abbasi
Shaheed Hospital. Over 50 huts were destroyed in this incident.
On 14th April 2005, a woman and her 4 years old daughter were burnt
alive when their hut caught fire in Block 12 Gulistan Jauhar.
On 1st January 2005 two small children were burnt to death after
their hut caught fire in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Mr. Hafizullah, a junk-dealer,
had nine children and a wife. His wife worked as maidservant at several
houses in Block-13 of the Gulistan-e-Jauhar. Hafiz went to work, so did
his wife, taking along four of the children. She left behind five children
in the hut established on a vacant plot. Hafiz's three children were
playing outside the hut while two children, Boral, 3, and one-year-old
Bilawal, were asleep inside the hut, which caught fire. The children were
burnt fatally by the time the fire brigade extinguished the fire. The
three children, playing outside, remained safe.
Pirwali Gali, Masan Road Bhutta Villege Kiamari Town, one hut
gutted on 9 May 2004. A woman and her two young daughters burnt alive and
two other young girls of the same family got serious injuries.
Near KESC Power House Block 19 Gulshan-e-Iqbal, 30 huts were gutted
on 5th January 2004. According to press reports, the police and city
administration intentionally put the huts on fire. The police and city
administration had been trying to get this land vacated, but due to strong
resistance from the community, they were unable to do so. Finally they
used criminal tactics by putting the huts on fire. Over 200 men, women and
children rendered homeless.
Shanti Nagar Block 12 Gulshan-e-Iqnal 12 huts were destroyed and a
six months old baby was burnt alive. The poor community also lost their
entire household belongings including cash.
45 huts were gutted in Plot B 99 Block 5 F.B. Area on 15 January
2003, one minor died and 35 other people were injured.
40 huts were gutted near Darul Sehat hospital Gulistan-e-Jauhar
Block 14 on 10 March 2003. 23 people were injured
Altaf Nagar Sector 4 Korangi 22 huts gutted on 13 November 2004.
Shanti Nagar Gulshan-e-Iqbal 30 huts were destroyed by the fire on
2nd September 2004. The community members lost all their household goods
Block 13/A Gulshan-e-Iqbal, 30 huts were destroyed by the fire on
28 October 2003. Around 200 men, women and children lost their shelter and
household belongings in this incident.
75 huts were gutted in Afghan Basti Sohrab Goth on 10 April 2003
one minor died and 20 other injured
45 huts were gutted in Plot B 99 Blocks 5 F.B. Area on 15 January
2003, one minor died and 35 other people were injured.
40 huts were gutted near Darul Sahat hospital Gulistan-e-Jauhar
Block 14 on 10 March, 23 people were injured
main causes are identified for these incidents; one natural and the other
planned. The planned incidents are those, in which the land mafia is
involved. To draw attention towards fire incidents in Karachi, URC
circulates reports containing facts and figures on the issue to the press,
NGOs and government agencies.