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Leap of faith in the face of faithless Pakistanis


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One cannot remember when was the last time such an eye-opening incident took place in Pakistan. Tracing such events back in time, there are actually rarely any to be found, especially since this one did not involve suicide or injuries, but rather certain death due to self absorbed countrymen.

A 23 year old, identified as Owais Baig, fell to his death from a window of the StateLifeBuilding in an attempt to escape a raging fire on November 28, 2012. He was present on the eighth floor of the 12-storey building on Abdullah Haroon Road awaiting a job interview for an executive engineer’s position when the fire erupted.

According to the report, “The police and rescue sources said the young man hung from the window for nearly half an hour before he finally fell down and landed on the roof of the second floor. The situation was being witnessed by a large number of people from the street below. Some private television channels were showing it live.” How come no selfless citizen or for that matter concerned authority stepped forward to assist in any way possible given that the boy helplessly hung on to his life for nearly 30 minutes? Was it right on the part of the media to telecast an incident such as this ‘live’? Did they not once think about what the family and friends of the boy must be going through watching the horrific visuals?

The same report states, “Police and rescue services said that the fire had broken out in the duct housing electric cables on the second floor.” Which authority will now step forward and take blame for the fault? Is it time to put into effect laws that regulate building maintenance and checks to ensure as much safety as possible for any one inside residential or commercial buildings?

The report adds, “Although the fire department’s snorkel did arrive at the scene, it was too late for Owais Baig. “Our snorkel had reached the scene of the fire, but by the time the young man had fallen,” chief fire officer Saleem Ethesham said. Eight fire tenders and two snorkels were employed in the firefighting operation, and the fire was doused in three hours, he added.” Have the emergency and rescue services of Pakistan not learnt any lessons at all? When will the efficiency and swiftness that is needed take effect? When will the investments in the sectors that are so badly needed pour in?

This one in a million episode happened in the midst of the busiest hub in a city of 21 million, during the peak hours of the daily work routine of the many that pass through the area six days a week. Does this appalling occurrence not deserve more follow up attention rather than the disgraceful live circus that was televised? Have the citizens of Karachi become so immune to ‘death’ that only something worse, such as a whole horde of deaths or mass wreckage could move them to create a hue and cry?

Comments (25) Closed

Nony Dec 04, 2012 08:04am
This incident truly represents how our masses have become, a person dying in front of them and nobody is making any effort to save his life. People must be offering prayers for his life and media must be passing on adventurous live videos with commentary. This is what is happening to this country with all the people offering prayers for the situation to get better and our media is covering everything in detail for more and more success of individual media channels.
Ali Dec 02, 2012 07:11am
My question is, how did those people escape the fire who were to conduct the interview of this young man?
Gerry D'Cunha Dec 04, 2012 01:59pm
Khalid, I too have the same feelings for karachi like you and thought some years back that after my retirement, would enjoy the rest of my life in my beloved karachi but looking at the present sceniro, I doubt my dream to come true. very sad
Desert Hawk Dec 01, 2012 08:20am
This is the real face of our's, we have to get up against the corrupt authorities & leaders. We have to unite and create an environment of humanity & peace.
Aamir Dec 03, 2012 08:46pm
Well, next elections are around the corner, so people should wake up and use their vote very carefuly. If not then same things will happen for next 5 years. Dead nation will die slowly and slowly and we even do not deserve to be called as a nation.....
ram Dec 04, 2012 03:15am
Thankless...Thinkless....Faithless and heartless.....ROBOTS
Abbas Dec 03, 2012 06:39am
WELL first of all, these buildings have security guards and building staff where were they for over half an hour? Secondly this boy came for the job of Executive Engineers interview then where his panel of senior Engineers taking interview had gone or they were among crowd give media interview themselves and who has built this building without Emergency Safety Exit facilities and if there was a fire how the boy managed to come out from room window? Well the enquiry by Apex Court should summon the builders of building for utter negligence and bad safety management. Not a eye wash like many other incidents.
Shuaib Dec 03, 2012 05:49am
for such an incident,fire-fighting was of secondary importance(which also arrived late),but they needed a crane to pluck him off or a small mountain of cheap mattresses(which are available easily all over the place).But the sadist crowd didnt even care to excercise the latter,handier option.
sri1ram Dec 04, 2012 12:00pm
Remember how in India too (my experience is in Mumbai), we have utterly no faith that the authorities will come to aid in time. So people help each other out automatically whatever the faith, creed etc. Remember the Mumbai floods? Remember the bomb blasts? Or any accident where on-lookers rush to help out? I am sure this is the case in Pakistan too - maybe there was absolutely no way for fellow citizens to provide help to the boy.
Laeeq,NY Dec 01, 2012 02:55am
Insensitivity to human life is to its bottom. How this nation will be remembered in history?
ssijaz Dec 01, 2012 03:16am
so sad. So sorry for this child. Such a tragedy. Why people are becoming so cruel in Pakistan. May be its because there is no value of life left in Pakistan as people are dying daily due to Bomb blasts, drones .
Khanm Dec 04, 2012 12:11pm
Saving his life would have been a real Jihad. Not killing people in the name of religion, sect, creed, race, ethnicity, we need to re invest our energy and resources in redefining its true meaning......
ram Dec 01, 2012 03:34am
Heartless and pretenders..... All the punishment we are given are not enough! Final is slavery to such people....Sample of long rope are terrorist...just a sample!!!
Benighted soul Dec 01, 2012 04:57am
The onus is on the civil society as being witness to such horrific scene they did not have the guts to help a fellow being in the hang of life and death. Karach is a big city and fire department has many problems i.e. recieving the help call on time , traffic problems and low number of equipment , vehicles and staff etc. In such incidents the passerby could gather a cloth , a matress on the floor or someone try estinguish the fire. It is the act of "one person" that could change the scene , if the standerby s had not been callous to Mr. Owais. The time is to recognize the responsibility of us being "citizens" before we criticize the state institutes. As for as , the media coverage goes its time the electronic media devise "code of ethics" that inculcates responsibility upon the journalist that it is no means "informing" by showing pieces of dead bodies or people in utmost distress ...
Mr.T Dec 01, 2012 05:32am
At-least you write something about it, a jobless engineer died in front media and people and they all watching carelessly. Shame on those who are standing there and shame on the such media people who are make news for that. If there's 100 thousand hanging from the window, million would have climbed and took the money. KIS MO SAY JAO GAI KABA PAKISTANIYO, SHARAM TUM KO MAGAR ATI NAHI...
Gerry D'Cunha Dec 02, 2012 07:53pm
how many innocent lives were taken away in the month of november - was there any impact on the present government - poor man's life in pakistan has no value, only his vote counts at the can a country progress if its citizens are not safe. ask the fate of this boy's family who must be cursing the authorities for its negligence.
Pushpinder Singh Dec 01, 2012 08:43am
I am from Delhi and I can tell you that in this incident it was still difficult for citizens to do anything, but in India, even when two small little hoodlooms eve tease a girl, in front of hundreds of other people, then none of my countrymen dare to stop and protect that woman. They stand frozen and are busy thinking of 'how to get away from there fast' OR 'what should I say to friends' like for example "oh i arrived too late, i would have surely helped and beaten the hoodlooms but i arrived too late," but basically all are only 'talkers' and will keep talking about bravery. In reality most of us Indians are weaklings like your people.
Ara Dec 01, 2012 10:13am
Can we start a legal process of terrorism related offence for the television crew, who were transmitting it live, instead of helping?
yusuf khan Dec 01, 2012 02:34pm
So many killings daily have made you people extremely insensitive. The culprits are all those who were there viewing the helplessness of the unfortunate boy. The tv crew should also be charged with homicide.
reality not selected truth Dec 01, 2012 10:27pm
I just cant understand why couldnt have people who were around there at time help him in some way. A cloth could have been held where he was expected to fall.
gangadin Dec 01, 2012 08:50pm
cowards, afraid to take a risk even if its a question of saving a life.
Khalid Dec 03, 2012 09:47am
Couldn't agree with you more Gerry. We have become a nation of selfsh people. Karachi used to be a vibrant, safe and a lovely environemnt to grow in. Having lived away from Pakistan for 30 years I still miss my beloved Karachi.... every day
Circumbulator Dec 01, 2012 03:34pm
The tragedy of Pakistan and Pakistanis.
S. A. M. Dec 01, 2012 06:59pm
Dear Pushpinder Singh, I agree that the an ordinary person could not have done anything to save the youbg boy from falling down. However, the media at least could have been more humane by not telecasting live the tragic death of the young boy. There has to be a limit to commercial lust. So far as weakness of the masses are concerned I would comment that hoodlums are generally equipped with arms or daggers and they are not too hesitant to use them as well. Additionally there would be dire consequences for those that would come forward to save the victim of the hooligans. This explains why people are afraid to save someone in trouble. We will have to believe in the power of the masses. We have to be the first person to throw the person at the wrong doer others will definitely be encouraged to follow. if nobody supports you should at least be good in running to escape from the scene as fast as possible.
Raj Chaudhary Dec 02, 2012 07:02am
this is indeed sad and shocking.. yet another example of the all pervading indifference amongst all of us. We talk big things in the name of our respective religions, countries and what not but very shamefully do nothing when it comes to actually 'doing' something for a fellow human being. - Raj Chaudhary/Delhi