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Capital firefighters lack requisite gear, SC told | Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) admitted before the Supreme Court on Monday that it was caught off-guard when fires broke out across the Margalla Hills recently. 

The revelation was made by an MCI official who appeared before a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar hearing a suo motu case on Margalla Hills’ fires. 

As the hearing went under way, MCI official Najaf Bukhari submitted a report in court. 

According to your reply, no one must be at fault, the chief justice remarked, adding that the fire raged on for three days and then must have extinguished naturally.

Bukhari replied in the negative saying they admit they were ill-prepared for the recent fires.

He complained that the firefighting staff does not have the required suits to battle such blazes.

How will those who constructed a road for Rs40 billion help you, the chief justice observed.

The chief justice remarked that they can form a commission to give recommendations to prevent fires on the hills, which serve as an icon of the country’s capital. 

The court noted that the MCI gave its recommendations after which it directed the formation of a committee to come up with preventive measures. 

During the hearing, former civil servant and Margalla Hills Society President Roedad Khan explained in court that the local population is responsible for 90 per cent of the fires on Margalla Hills.

On June 4, the Supreme Court had taken notice of several incidents of fire at Margalla Hills for posing serious threats to the forest, wildlife and environment.

Notices were issued to the attorney general, secretary environment, secretary CADD, mayor Islamabad, chief commissioner Islamabad and chairman Capital Development Authority.

In May and June this year, several fires ravaged the scenic Margalla Hills and exposed the local administration’s capacity to douse the inferno. 

In the last fire earlier this month, the army and air force were called in after which the fires were managed to be put out by use of helicopters and trained armed forces’ personnel. 

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