Baldia Facotry Case: SHC to hear plea against ATC verdict

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday, announced its decision to hear plea against ATC verdict in Baldia Factory Fire Case.

SHC has announced to hear plea against Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) verdict in Baldia Factory Fire Case.

The ATC verdict has been challenged by men indicted in Baldia Factory Fire Case including, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, Zubair alias Charya, Fazal Ahmed, Hakeem and Arshad Mehmood.

MQM workers Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, Zubair alias Charya were awarded death sentence, whereas MQM leaders Rauf Siddiqui, Umar Hasan Qadri, Dr Abdul Sattar Khan and Iqbal Adeeb Khanum were acquitted in the Septmeber 22 ATC verdict.

A two-judge bench of the SHC has issued notice to the Prosecutor General seeking complete record of the case from ATC records.

Baldia Factory Fire

On September 11th 2012, a massive fire broke out at a garment factory owned by Ali Enterprises in Baldia Town area of Karachi. Between 300 and 400 workers were inside the factory when the blaze erupted, most of whom were left trapped inside as the blaze engulfed the entire complex.

The blaze killed 258 factory workers who were unable to escape all the exit doors in the factory were locked and many of the windows of the factory were covered with iron bars.

Initially the blaze was declared as a result of an accident or a short circuit, however, an investigation was launched and a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed to probe the incident.

In a report submitted by JIT to Sindh High Court (SHC) it was revealed that the fire was no accident and was in fact the result of an arson attack as it the factory was intentionally doused with flammable chemicals by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers over the refusal of payment of extortion money of around Rs 200 million by the factory owners.

The report stated that MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) head Hammad Sidduqui directed MQM workers and sector in-charge Abdul Rehman, alias Bhola and M. Zubair, alias Charya, to start the factory fire with the help of its four gatekeepers Shahrukh, Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad.

The revelation of the nefarious nexus between a mainstream political party and crime shook the city and resulted in a public uproar that led to a case being filed in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi involving various MQM leaders and workers such as Rauf Siddiqui.