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Greeks Nab Architect Wanted in Collapse

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

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A British architect wanted in connection with the 2005 collapse of a residential tower in Pakistan that killed 78 people has been arrested in Greece, according to numerous reports.

Shaikh Abdou Hafeez, 71, of Pakistan origin, was arrested Sunday (Aug. 11), reports relate, citing authorities in Greece.

Margalla Towers

franek2 / Panoramio

Margalla Towers in Islamabad, Pakistan, collapsed during an earthquake in October 2005, killing 78 people. The architect of the building is accused of homicide, destruction of public assets, and corruption.

Greek police arrested Hafeez on the resort island of Zakynthos under an international warrant, reports say.

The architect is facing several charges, including homicide, destruction of public assets, and corruption, authorities say. Hafeez is expected to appear before a Greek court  in the coming days for a ruling on his extradition.

Collapse during Earthquake

The 10-story Margalla Towers in Islamabad, Pakistan, designed by Hafeez, collapsed during an earthquake Oct. 8, 2005, killing 78 people and injuring 84, reports said, citing the warrant.

Reports indicate the tower was the only “major building” in the capital to crumble during the 7.6 magnitude earthquake. After the earthquake, some blamed the building's collapse on authorities, who may have not enforced proper checks on the design and construction of the structure.

Centered in Kashmir, the earthquake killed more than 70,000 people and damaged hundreds of thousands of structures across the western Himalayas and adjoining regions. It was considered one of the worst natural disasters in Pakistan.

Kashmir earthquake
NOAA/NGDC/John Beba, Earthquake Monitoring Division, Geological Survey of India

The Kashmir earthquake caused heavy damage across the western Himalayas and adjoining regions. The image shows a landslide and blockade of the Muzaffarabad Highway following the 7.6 magnitude quake.

Margalla Towers’ owner and builder, Ramzan Khokhar, was reportedly accused of faulty construction following the collapse, but further information regarding that case was not immediately available.

Reports said a court had directed Pakistan’s Capital Development Authority to pay compensation to the owners of 75 residential apartments of Margalla Towers after the collapse. Khokhar shared in the compensation.

Demolition Issues

Moreover, demolishing what’s left of the Margalla Towers seems to have been a point of contention, but plans to raze the structure were moving forward this past spring, reports relate.

Residents complain that the decrepit tower has become a hideout for “anti-social elements including drug addicts,” as well as a painful reminder of the loss of life, according to a report published in March by The Express Tribune.

The Capital Development Authority says the demolition poses enormous risk and the company that was granted permission to take down the structure will complete the project at its own risk, the report says.

A new residential apartment complex with a shopping mall is expected to take the Margalla Towers’ place.

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Building codes; Building design; Construction; Criminal acts; Residential Construction

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