Daudpota visits devastated Business Recorder premises -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Daudpota visits devastated Business Recorder premises

KARACHI- Sindh Governor Azim Daudpota visited the offices of Business Recorder to see for himself the damage caused to the newspaper by an unruly mob on May 18.

On arrival at the Recorder House, the governor was received by the Editor, M. A. Zubari, who showed him the completely gutted newsrooms, reporters-room, system room, communication room where Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), Pakistan Press International (PPI), and Reuters teleprinters and fax machines were installed. The governor also other sections and the premises where burnt down vehicles were lying. He also saw the completely damaged Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) on the ground floor.

During his stay for about 45 minutes, Daudpota continued discussing different aspects of the incident and counting possible reasons for the arson and complete destruction of the Business Recorder House. He assured the editor his support in conducting enquiry into the incident.

He was accompanied by the commissioner of Karachi Shafiq-ur-Rehman Piracha, DIG Karachi Jawed Iqbal, DC South, his personal staff and other law inforcement personnel.

An agitated mob, comprising over 300 youths had completely gutted the offices of Business Recorder on Thursday May 18 leaving nothing but ashes and scratches. The fire burnt each and every thing-from a pincushion to highly sophisticated computer paraphernalia causing huge losses to the tune of around Rs.150 million according to initial assessment.

The offices of Business Recorder, once well furnished now offer a horrible look. Ashes, melted metal and pieces of glass are scattered all around on the ground and first floor of the building.

VANDALISM: Located at Business Recorder Road, the five-storey building of the newspaper, became the target of the mob at around 7:30 pm when they gathered in front of the Recorder House and began their agitation by pelting stones on the glass-window panes of the building. Then they broke into the Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), located on the ground floor of the building, and set its Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) afire. They forced their way into the Recorder House and threatened the entire editorial and other staff to stay away. They smashed all the computer installations of the newsroom, Reporters Room, as well as the Internet division of the newspaper with the help of clubs and steel rods. Some of them were armed with guns.

Later on, they set all the ruin on fire, which took about five hours to put off by the fire brigade squads. The fire fighters also had to face resistance from the mob. The administration had lately renovated its system installation at a cost of millions of rupees.

Corps Commander, the Commissioner of Karachi, and the Inspector-General Police visited the site at about midnight and witnessed the ransack.

The Chief Executive, Business Recorder, Wamiq A. Zuberi, contacted various senior civil administration officials asking them to intervene but they merely shrugged saying their interruption would spark further agitation which may engulf the whole country. Police and rangers patrolling vehicles also kept themselves aloof while they were present in the vicinity since mid-Thursday.

On Friday, under a contingency plan, the offices of the Business Recorder were shifted to 141/3 Marayam Street, Garden East, with a commitment to bring out the newspaper uninterrupted. It may take months to return to normal publication of the newspaper.

Staff Deprived: The crowd had set on fire five motorcycles, two cars and a jeep belonging to the staff of Business Recorder. They towed away the motorcycles and the jeep outside the premises of Recorder House and set them ablaze. Besides, eight official cars of Business Recorder were also burnt in side the premises of Recorder House.

MCB: the crowd had also burned the MCB, Recorder House branch to ashes. Three cars belonging to the MCB staffers were also torched. The rescue team also recovered two dead bodies late at night, which were found along side the lockers of the bank. One of them was armed with an IT Pistol.

Saeed Qureshi, the manager bank, told Business Recorder that bank escaped major loss. The locker, maintained by the bank customers, remained safe. There was no mentionable cash in the branch, he said. But, he said, an ultimate assessment of the losses is yet to be made. However, his personal car, which was parked in the premises of Recorder House, was gutted.

On Friday morning that is on 19 May, a FIR was lodged with the Soldier Bazar Police Station.

Source: Business Recorder
Date:5/21/2000