There have been frequent fires in Karachi, often in industrial and commercial establishments, mainly due to a lack of fire safety systems. The system is completely under-resourced to deal with fire emergencies given the sheer size of the provincial capital. Factories and shopping malls often catch fire on Sunday, the weekly public holiday, when human intervention is often lacking to prevent disaster.
The CM mentioned that along with the government, it was also the responsibility of every citizen that the proper equipment be present for fire safety in their homes and businesses, as small mistakes had often been the cause of massive tragedies.
He lamented that shopkeepers scrapped the inspection system under a 1913 law to check electrical wiring and generators in their stores.
He acknowledged that the practice of electrical inspections had been halted as it had become problematic for the traders involved as they complained that they had been coerced into paying bribes under the scheme.
He said that if a good system had become corrupted, that did not mean that it should be completely abandoned.
He urged the Karachi Administrator and the management of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to sit down together and find a way to revive the system of electrical inspections after resolving the issues.
Similarly, the CM also recognized that the Civil Defense Organization needed to step up its work to ensure that each store had appropriate safety equipment to prevent fires. He said the system of checking the availability of medical first aid and fire safety equipment in each store has been in place since he was a student.
Shah noted that the CM house banquet hall where the compensation check ceremony was taking place did not have fire extinguishers and told relevant officials to immediately install the same as emergencies in case of fires could occur anywhere.