Islamabad’s Diary: City didn’t sleep

I came to Islamabad yesterday to visit my family, for a different reason than earthquake itself. Nonetheless, it was time when want to stay among your peers. My family basks in a three-story tall complex which is almost four times in length. Still, it was jolted by the earthquake like a flickering finger. Nobody in my home slept last night, so everyone else in the city. You never see people awake this late in normal circumstances. My father was telling me last night that folks living in old flats of G-9 Markaz (aka Karachi Company) were reluctant to stay in their poorly built apartments; you don’t see poor people sleeping on footpaths in Islamabad. But this was the night, everybody, poor or not, was out on footpaths on a typically chilly night of Islamabad.

As I was talking to taxi driver on my way to home earlier in the night, he revealed to me that Margalla Towers which succembed to mighty 7.6 earthquake shocks was built with only 1/4th of the supporting beams than normally required for a huge complex like that. I remember envying these luxury flats located just on the northern urban end of city in F-10 Markaz, every morning I passed by them in my school days. Only that Margalla Towers were built quite late. While I was penning down my thoughts due to non-availablity of inernet at night, 18 hours have already passed and life is still stranded under the debris of once luxurious apartments. I can’t help pondering how the shape of things change in a matter of seconds.

Tags: Earthquake, Pakistan

7 Comments so far

  1. Darwaish (unregistered) on October 9th, 2005 @ 12:23 pm

    :) ..

    maut se koi basar nahi, saman sau baras ka pal ki khabar nahi (one can


  2. Leftistoe (unregistered) on October 10th, 2005 @ 12:30 am

    I am glued to the screen here in vienna and the more I watch the more angry I become at the lack of coordination and the incompetent rescue efforts provided by the govt. for the people still buried under the debris of the 10 storey building. Corruption, lack of emergency planning and coordination is actually killing people this minute who can/could survive otherwise. I dont know what would happen if it were not for the hundereds of volunteers who are helping there with their bare hands.


  3. asfand (unregistered) on October 10th, 2005 @ 9:22 pm

    AUTHOR ADDED: Comment censored.

    the army and emergency services reached the towers within minutes, if ANYTHING the sheer amount of unskilled volunteers may have done more ‘harm’ then helped because they were climbing all over the place.

    the rubble was more then 5 stories high. do you have any idea how careful and how painstaking it is to remove every piece of concrete so as not to spark any sort of movement that may render those alive inside completely dead?

    You’re in Vienna. I’m in Islamabad.

    Trust me, there is no ‘corruption’ or lack of co-ordination involved in any of relief efforts being carried out (except the bunch of thieves who’ve set up relief camps in their houses and are just looting instead of sending the donations out)


  4. Leftistoe (unregistered) on October 11th, 2005 @ 12:02 am

    Asfand: Thanks for the polite answer.
    Dont see the need to rupture a vein over a different point of view though.

    I have got two cousins who live in the building opposite who saw the Margalla Tower collapse and have been helping since – its from them that I am getting news of lousy coordination and mismanagement.

    Corruption was mentioned in reply to Yasirs post for the contractors of the Margalla Towers which were supposedly built with only 1/4th of the supporting beams normally required for that huge a complex – not in response to relief efforts … (yet).

    chill.


  5. asfand (unregistered) on October 11th, 2005 @ 11:52 am

    There’s a difference between a different point of view and that of disdain at such a time.

    There are ‘stories’ of mismanagement. There are stories of looting in the other towers that have been evacuated, but is that really important at this time? The issue was raised and police has been posted at the evacuated towers, i assure you.

    And no, that’s false information. The CDA had yet to issue the building a certifiying statement allowing it to open itself up the public. In other words, the CDA had not YET decided whether they should allow residents to live within it or not.

    It was made quickly and apparently with substandard material to satisfy the growing problem Islamabad has with rising property/rent rates due to the foreigners and lack of Government allocated housing. The problem was always there, why are voices screaming now?

    Apologies for perhaps the over-zealousness, i’m just filled to the brim with other idiots who find an innate desire to somehow ridicule the whole disaster (there was whorehouse in the margalla towers hence it collapsed, that was its punishment :\) and other shit like that.

    No offense intended.


  6. asfand (unregistered) on October 11th, 2005 @ 11:52 am

    There’s a difference between a different point of view and that of disdain at such a time.

    There are ‘stories’ of mismanagement. There are stories of looting in the other towers that have been evacuated, but is that really important at this time? The issue was raised and police has been posted at the evacuated towers, i assure you.

    And no, that’s false information. The CDA had yet to issue the building a certifiying statement allowing it to open itself up the public. In other words, the CDA had not YET decided whether they should allow residents to live within it or not.

    It was made quickly and apparently with substandard material to satisfy the growing problem Islamabad has with rising property/rent rates due to the foreigners and lack of Government allocated housing. The problem was always there, why are voices screaming now?

    Apologies for perhaps the over-zealousness, i’m just filled to the brim with other idiots who find an innate desire to somehow ridicule the whole disaster (there was whorehouse in the margalla towers hence it collapsed, that was its punishment :\) and other shit like that.

    No offense intended.


  7. Mahnaz Ahsan (unregistered) on October 16th, 2005 @ 2:44 pm

    I was one of the re4sidents of the unfortunate Margalla Towers ,just 8 monts back. We were living in apartment 104, the ground floor of the same building which collapsed.The people who lived there were wonderful & we had a real family like environment there. THese apartments were really one of a kind & the time we spent there with our kids was full of joy .We miss our friends dearly , specially who are no longer with us & lost their lives in this Earth Quake. Their faces keep appearing in front of our eyes all day long, passing by the Margalla Towers is very difficult.Aunty Shahab, Major Sahab, Hina & Neha,Tahira Apa & Monis bahi,Cap. Sajjad, Neelam, their kids,Zeba Apa & Safdar bahi,Nana Haro & Hikaro who were all wonderful people.May Allah give them peace & heigest place in heaven & patience & peace for the loved ones who grieve in their loss & miss their presence dearly.
    Please pray for all the people, who have been effected by this tragedy & Pray to Allah to sAve pakistan from future clamities & disasters.It overwhelmes me to see so many people helping us in these difficult times.



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