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Manslaughter, FIR lodged over fire in a shopping mall

KARACHI: A first information report (FIR) was registered on Sunday after nearly a dozen people were killed in a massive fire inside RJ Shopping Mall at Rashid Minhas Road the previous day. However, no arrests were reported yet.The FIR was registered at Sharae Faisal Police Station by Sub Inspector Sadaruddin Mirani under Sections 322 (manslaughter), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 288 (negligent conduct with respect to pulling down or repairing buildings), 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).The blaze, sparked due to a suspected short circuit at the commercial building, claimed the lives of at least 11 people and injured six others.During the initial investigation the police gathered that the building had neither an emergency exit nor an alarm system. It lacked safety measu res as well as fire-fighting equipment.The aforementioned sections in the FIR were registered against the shopping mall's builders, those who approved the map of the building, those who issued the no-objection certificate (NOC) despite apparent objectionable factors, the incumbent management of the shopping mall, K-Electric and the relevant fire station for failing to fulfil their duties.According to the FIR, the fire broke out at 5am and engulfed the entire building. Visitors attempted to flee using the staircase and the electric lift in the shopping mall, crowding both exits, while fumes from the blaze added to suffocation inside the buidling.The injured were transferred to different hospitals, where those with critical burn injuries succumbed to their wounds.Interim Sindh Chief Minister Justice (retired) Maqbool Baqar had on Saturday, directed the Karachi commissioner to conduct an investigation into the incident and called for a safety audit of all commercial buildings, public spots and offices.Moreover, he instructed the Sindh Building Control Authority, Provincial Disaster Management Authority, Civil Defence and the relevent deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners to carry out safety audits of all public and commercial buildings, educational institutions, and government offices and submit their reports along with recommendations.Mayor Karachi Barrister Murtaza Wahab maintained that RJ Shopping Mall was under the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board.