Tuesday Nov 14, 2017
KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in a show of solidarity with the families of the factory workers, who lost their lives in the Baldia factory inferno, demanded justice for the victims on Tuesday.
Five years have passed since the Baldia Town incident that devoured lives of over 250 labourers but justice is yet to be serviced.
Party leaders, including Dr Arif Alvi and Imran Ismael, said that the murderers should be punished regardless of their political affiliation, on on the fifth anniversary of the incident.
The affected families demanded also that the individuals who orchestrated the incident be brought to justice.
Mothers of the deceased factory workers said that many [leaders] had lent emotional support but no one helped them in getting justice.
The two men accused in the case, Abdul Rahman alias Bhola and Hammad Siddiqui, were arrested in December 2016 and October 2017.
The blaze erupted at Ali Enterprises on September 11, 2012, and a case was registered a day after, declaring it a mishap.
However, the case took a new turn when a political party worker, Rizwan Qureshi, revealed before a joint investigation team (JIT) that the fire did not break out accidentally, but was deliberately started by workers of a political party.
The revelation shook the Sindh government and it ordered re-investigation into the case on March 26, 2015.
A JIT was constituted to probe the incident, which recorded statements of 58 witnesses, including owners of the enterprise.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the factory was deliberately set ablaze over non-payment of protection money. A political party had demanded Rs250 million protection money from owners of Ali Enterprises, the JIT report stated.
The interim challan of the case was submitted to the court after four years, which stated that there were no evidence against the 13 individuals accused, including the factory owners.
The JIT report put the entire blame on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Hammad Siddiqui and sector in-charge Abdul Rehman alias Bhola.
Rehman was later arrested from Bangkok in December 2016, but the investigations were delayed and justice for 259 lives continued to lie under a stack of files.
Another prime suspect in the case, Hammad Siddiqui, was arrested in Dubai last month.
Diplomatic sources, on November 6, said that legal formalities and documentation had been completed to bring Siddiqui to Pakistan.