Six children, woman die as school wall collapses in Gujranwala


GUJRANWALA: Six children and a woman were killed in Gujranwala on Saturday when a wall inside a school collapsed during the Pakistan Day celebrations and academic ceremony, rescue officials said.

The incident took place at KT Model School, a private school located on Kashmir Road, in Gujranwala. The combined event was underway when a decrepit interior wall that had grown weak due to water seepage collapsed, killing seven people and leaving 13 others injured.

Apart from 35-year-old mother Shazia Imran, all of the victims were under-15 school children. The injured were shifted to Gujranwala Divisional Headquarter Hospital (DHQ) for treatment. One of the injured children is in critical condition.

The aforesaid woman was the mother of one of the children who died. She was at the school to collect her child’s academic results. Both lost their lives in the incident.

Gujranwala Deputy Commissioner Naila Baqar arrived at the scene following the incident and set-up a six-member committee to investigate the matter. The committee shall visit the site and investigate whether the site plan of the building was approved, fitness certificate was issued by any competent authority, school registration and technical reason of the collapse.

Naila Baqar blamed the school authorities for the collapse and said that the principal was well-aware of the wall’s condition but did not get it repaired. She then directed City Police Officer Moeen Masood to register a first information report (FIR) against six people, including the school principal and owner. Police have arrested four people so far, including the principal’s brother.

Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas took notice of the incident and made a visit to Gujranwala. He assured that further incidents like these will be prevented.

While speaking to media, he said that the incident was very tragic and that government stands with the families of the deceased and shares in their grief.”Whoever granted the building a certificate in 2018 must be arrested immediately. Our focus now will be to assess and repair existing schools prior to the construction of new ones,” the education minister vowed.”

“Schools found to have dilapidated buildings will be shut down,” he also revealed that a new bill for opening private schools is about to be introduced.

A similar incident occurred last month at a government girls’ primary school in Aroop area of Gujranwala when a female teacher died after the school’s roof caved in. The education minister had given similar assurances at that time.