KARACHI: On a cool and calm Saturday nights when most of the citizens had already gone to bed, a businessman named Osama Ashaqeen was playing cricket – as is the ritual of Karachi boys – with his friends near his house. Little did he know that a phone call would soon force him to rush to his workplace.
“My phone rang around 1:30ish. It was my wife’s uncle. As soon as I picked his call, he told me what he had feared,” says Osama. A fire had broken out at one of the commercial buildings at Shahrah-e-Faisal – the city’s equivalent of the Wall Street.
“He told me that the said building in the video looked a lot like my office,” says Osama. As soon as he heard that, he checked his cell phone which had missed calls from colleagues and other people of the building.
Osama’s worst nightmare had come true. It was indeed his office’s building that had caught fire. He immediately rushed to the site where a staff member of his, Zulfiqar, had gone upstairs to assess the damage to the smoke. “I reached there and told Zulfiqar to come down, but he said that other firefighters were there too and that he was okay.”
Osama shares that he went back to his house to get keys of the office in order to retrieve the important documents which included property papers, cheque books, receipts, data and some petty cash. Luckily for Osama, his office – albeit filled with thick smoke – remained safe from the horrific fire.
“I was able to get most of my things. Indeed, ALLAH saved my from huge amount of losses,” says Osama. According to him, the management of the building has kept mum about why the fire broke and when it would be safe to resume work from the premises of the office.
“A day; a week; a month; a year, we know nothing yet. The management hasn’t said a word,” says Osama. While rumours are rife that the fire broke out at a private bank located at the ground floor, many of the workers at the petrol pump located right next to the building have said that it actually started from a warehouse of a popular electronics manufacturer.