Jameel, 45, a bookbinder, has living with his family in a rented two-storey house for last three years. The marriage ceremony of his daughter was underway and a number of relatives from Rawalpindi were also staying in his house to attend the function.
Jameel, who himself was injured, told Dawn his family and guests came back late after attending the Mehndi function in a banquet hall. They went to sleep on both floors of the house as well as its rooftop when the building collapsed.
Neighbours were first to arrive at the spot and they started rescue efforts while Rescue 1122 officials joined them later.
A rescue official said they had recovered 15 children and women and shifted them to the Mayo Hospital where five women were declared dead. The deceased were identified as Jameel’s wife Tafseela (40), his daughter, Aqsa (9), sister-in-law Dua (35), cousin Mehwish (28) and mother-in-law Parveen.
The injured were identified as three-month-old Haram, one and half years old Ayyan, Mahnoor (3), Rehman (4), Nabeela (30) besides Jameel (45).
A rescue official said that they could not bring heavy machinery to the spot due to narrow streets of the area and it affected their rescue efforts.
He added rescuers and locals removed the debris with hands and small equipment and it took time to recover the people trapped under the rubble.
Hammad, a neighbour, said when he came home from his garments shop late at night, he heard a heavy sound of music from the wedding house. Then where was a bang. When he saw outside his window, he was blinded by dust and darkness but he heard screams of women and children and rushed to the spot.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident and directed the authorities to provide the best treatment facilities to the injured. He also sought a report from the administration on the incident.
A Walled City of Lahore Authority official said that they served notices to the residents of the dilapidated houses but no one ever paid them heed. He said they had suggested the police to take action against the owner of the house for renting out the dilapidated building.
Yakki Gate police official said the house was in poor condition that’s why it could not bear the burden of the people and caved in. He said they would take action against the owner if a complaint was lodged against him.
Later, funeral prayers for the deceased were held at the Wazir Khan Mosque and bodies were taken to the family’s ancestral graveyard in Rawalpindi.