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Indian RAW is up to its old tricks. According to Rawalpindi officials the India has destroyed the Ghakkar Plaza in Rawalpindi in retaliation for Mumbai attacks.
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RAWALPINDI, Dec 20: Saturday will be remembered as a black day for the business community in Rawalpindi which lost billions of rupees in the fire at Ghakkar Plaza and later its subsequent collapse.
Nearly 500 shops were gutted in the fire that lasted 18 hours. Bank Road, previously known as Edwards Road, gave a look of devastation.
The plaza that once was a centre of imported garments and jewellery, leather garments, shoes and cosmetics had turned into debris.
The vicinity of the plaza where finding parking space was an uphill task was full of fire service, rescue operators and law enforcement agencies.
With the destruction of Ghakkar Plaza, the future of many small shopkeepers turned bleak as they lost their entire investment. It was the main place for shopping whether it was for Eid or marriage.
With the collapse of Ghakkar Plaza scores of salesmen and workers were rendered jobless and as a result hundreds of families have been affected.
President of Ghakkar Plaza Shopkeepers Association Mohammad Ziaullah told Dawn that it was difficult to extent of the loss at this stage but it definitely was billions of rupees.
Ironically, not a single shop owner had insured the items or the property.
The affected shopkeepers expect the government to provide them relief in the form of taxes and compensation.
Only one helicopter was used in the rescue operation which made two unsuccessful sorties to sprinkle water on Ghakkar Plaza nine hours after the fire broke out. Business activities came to a complete halt in the entire garrison area.
The administration declared emergency and diverted traffic to alternative roads to make Bank Road accessible to emergency deliveries.
Fire service from the cantonment boards, district government, CDA, Rescue-1122, Bahria Town, Wasa, POF, Taxila and other places made every effort to extinguish the fire and millions of gallons of water was sprayed on the burning plaza but to no avail.
For firefighters, the main hindrance was the huge billboards which prevented water from reaching the fire.
Moreover, the plaza had only one entry and exit point which was the major cause of the spread of fire. The massive fire at Ghakkar Plaza is a lesson for the authorities concerned to improve the standard of firefighting equipment.
Though the garrison area assumes an important position in view of strategic military installations there, the cantonment boards are not well-equipped and lack proper fire-fighting vehicles. Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) is holding an emergency meeting with shopkeepers of Ghakkar Plaza on Sunday to review the situation in the aftermath of the fire incident.
The RCCI president, Syed Asad Mashhadi, in a statement, expressed his sorrow over the loss of billions of rupees suffered by the traders of Ghakkar Plaza, and said in view of the worsening economic situation, the business community in the country was facing a catastrophe-like situation. He called on the Punjab government to investigate the matter and consider compensating the affected shopkeepers for their losses.
Although the shopkeepers and the plaza owner had ignored the safety aspect and installed towering billboards around the building which hindered rescue efforts, the negligence on the part of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board could not be ruled out either as they had not taken any action against the installation of the billboards. Dawn. A fire that devastated Rawalpindi business By Amin Ahmed
Mumbai terror: No links to Pakistan’s ISI-US official. President Asif Zardari has repeatedly asked India for proof in the Mumbai incident but India is unable or unwilling to provide the proof. Even after several weeks the “survivor” has not been produced in any court or in front of the world media.
After interrogating the sole surviving gunman, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded that the ISI was cleared of any involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26, Pakistani daily The Dawn quoted diplomatic sources as saying on Thursday.‘ISI cleared of Mumbai involvement’ Thu, 18 Dec 2008 10:13:35 GMT. Press TV
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