BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 19 Aug 2009
Pix by Kamal Kassim
A Pakistani taxi driver was charred to death inside his car on Tuesday morning in Sharjah. The cause of the fire in the taxi is not yet known.
Sharjah Police have started investigations into the cabby's tragic demise.
The 45-year-old man, Sayed Ali Shah, was an employee of Sharjah's Union Taxi Company. He hailed from Pakistan's Kurrum Agency Parachinar area in NWFP, said a friend of the deceased.
A police official, who was at the site of the tragedy, told The Gulf Today that the Sharjah Police operations room received a call on Tuesday morning at around 11am, from an eyewitness who saw a taxi car in flames.
"The deceased was fully burnt along with his car, which was parked in a parking lot near a building located opposite Al Bustan Beach Hotel in the Al Khan area," the police have confirmed.
"The car was parked and not moving at the time of the accident. The body of the taxi driver was badly burnt," said the police official.
Anjad patrols, Civil Defence Department officials, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials and an ambulance were seen at the accident site.
The ambulance carried the burnt body to the forensic laboratory to ascertain the actual cause of the tragedy.
Meanwhile, Sayed Sharif Hussain, nephew of the deceased, was seen shedding tears at the site where his uncle burnt to a heap of ashes.Sharif, also a driver with Dubai's Cars Taxi, was unable to speak. He rushed to the scene where his uncle's burnt body was being shifted to the ambulance for further forensic tests. His last meeting with his uncle was 15 days ago.
Sharif will accompany the dead body during its repatriation to Pakistan, when the police procedures are completed.
Medical examiners collected evidence from the location of the accident, in order to investigate the actual reason behind the fire that erupted in the car. The investigators have to determine whether the incident was a suicide attempt or if the accident involved foul play.
"The engine of the car didn't catch fire in the accident, but the fire completely engulfed the cabin, glasses and seats. Nothing remained except for a black shirt that was found in the damaged driver's seat," the police explained.
The Gulf Today talked to an on-site medical examiner about the reason behind the eruption of fire inside the car that led to the tragic death of the driver, but he refused to reveal details about to the accident.
He said, "We cannot reveal the exact reason behind the fire and the death of the driver until we complete our investigation."
"There was nothing wrong with the engine of the burnt car, and it seemed that the fire erupted inside its cabin. So we couldn't detect any technical fault in the engine of the car," the official confirmed.
Sajid Hussain, a native friend of the deceased, said, "Ali Shah had worked with Union Taxi for almost one year and two months. He had been residing in the UAE for over ten years, most of the time in Al Ain."
Hidayath Hussain, another friend of the deceased, said, "Presently, he was living in the Hor Al Anz area of Deira. He slept there on Monday night with his other five room-mates, and left for work early on Tuesday morning."
"Ali Shah is survived by his wife, a daughter, four sons and mother," said Ikrar Husain, another neighbour, who also rushed to the scene immediately after he learnt of the tragedy.