Greece arrests architect over deadly Pakistan building collapse

CORFU, Greece (AFP) - A British architect of Pakistani origin wanted over the collapse of a building in Pakistan in 2005 that killed 78 people during a massive earthquake has been arrested in Greece, police said on Tuesday.

Shaikh Abdou Hafeez, 71, was arrested on Sunday on the resort island of Zakynthos under an international warrant and is due to appear before prosecutors on Wednesday, a local police source said.

He is accused of homicide, destruction of public assets and corruption among other allegations, according to a statement from Greek police.

According to the warrant, he was the architect of the Margalla Towers residential complex in Islamabad which collapsed during the October 2005 quake, killing 78 people and injuring 84.

Greek prosecutors are expected on Wednesday to order Hafeez held in custody before going before a Greek court which could then rule on his extradition.

The earthquake itself, which had a magnitude of 7.6 and was centred in Kashmir, killed at least 73,000 people and left several million homeless in one of the worst natural disasters to hit Pakistan.

Margalla Towers, a 10-storey apartment block in the upmarket F-10 sector of Islamabad, was the only major building in the Pakistani capital that collapsed in the quake.

The government pledged to enforce building standards more rigorously in the wake of the disaster and several official inquiries have been held.