Islamabad’s first Software Technology Park, also known as Awami Markaz in F-5/1, has burned to ashes leaving at least two dead after the building caught fire on a holiday.
Housing dozens of tech companies and call centers, the STP-1 or Software Technology Park 1 was inaugurated in 1999 and was considered as the first technology hub in the capital.
According to Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), that had officially designated the building as Software Technology Park, the STP-1 was fully occupied with 82,405 square feet of rented area.
While the origin of fire is yet unknown, and it is likely to remain unknown as in many similar fire incidents in the past, the building also housed the Federal Tax Ombudsman and CPEC Center of Excellence.
Here are at least 18 private tech companies that had offices in STP-1:
- Digital Processing Systems
- Arkotech Corporation
- Ora-Tech Systems (Pvt) Ltd
- Gulfnet Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (Apex ERP)
- Locopixel (Pvt) Ltd
- Aksa – Software Development Solutions (Pvt) Ltd
- PlanetBeyond (Data Center)
- Knowledge Platform (Pvt) Ltd
- Think Technology Solutions (Pvt) Ltd
- Techlogix (Pvt) Ltd
- Croem Inc
- Viper Technology (Pvt) Ltd
- Innvente Software Development Solution
- Fliegen IT Solutions (Pvt) Ltd
- Smart-IS (SMC Pvt) Ltd
- Phlox Solutions
- OUTPOST – Information Systems and Technology Services
Interestingly, the fire was controlled pretty quickly after it first erupted in the morning but then again engulfed the tower around 3PM and ended up completely destroying everything with-in the building.
It is said that second eruption was due to strong winds in Islamabad that fanned the fire, making it uncontrollable.
It must be mentioned here that building had incurred serious constructional damages during 2005 earthquake and was termed dangerous by the authorities.
It was actually emptied and remained vacant for one month as majority of the companies left the building to open offices else where. But it was opened for lease again after repair work and since then has been used by mid-tier tech companies.
Despite being situated in the Red Zone of the capital, it is saddening that the complete building turned into ashes due to apparent incapableness of fire fighting units in Islamabad to combat the blaze.
It is yet to be ascertained if building had sufficient fire-alarms and status of its readiness to deal with any fire incidents.
PASHA has said that it is still finding out the details of the companies that were located in the building. It didn’t say anything on the exact value of economical loss that fire caused.