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At least 261 killed in Pakistan factory fires

12 September 2012

Pakistani police and government officials said on September 12 that hundreds had died in two large factory fires in the country’s main cities. A garment factory blaze in the commercial capital of Karachi killed 236 people, while a fire in a shoe factory in Lahore killed at least 25.

A provincial minister has ordered an inspection of all factories and industrial plants in Sindh province within 48 hours. Karachi, home to 18 million people, is the capital of Sindh.

Senior Superintendent of Police Amir Farooqi told Reuters that police were raiding buildings in different parts of Karachi to search for the factory owners. Farooqi said 35 people were injured in the garment factory fire and bodies were still being recovered from the facility, which employed about 450 people.

A preliminary provincial government report on the Lahore fire concluded that the closure of emergency exits led to the deaths and labour and safety regulations were not applied, government sources said.

In Lahore, workers at the shoe factory suspected that the fire was caused by a problem with a generator.

Successive governments have been unable to provide a reliable power supply so factories must use their own generators, powered by diesel or petrol, if they want to avoid regular, lengthy power cuts.


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