pakistan
Wednesday Sep 08 2021
By
Web Desk

Karachi factory fire case: Court holds owners, government agencies responsible

By
Web Desk
A firefighter removes an iron grill window, after a fire broke out at a multi-storey chemical factory, in Karachi, Pakistan, August 27, 2021. Photo: Reuters
A firefighter removes an iron grill window, after a fire broke out at a multi-storey chemical factory, in Karachi, Pakistan, August 27, 2021. Photo: Reuters

  • Karachi court issues written verdict on bail pleas in Korangi factory fire case.
  • Interim bail had been granted to landowner Faisal Tariq, factory owner Hassan Ali Mehta, and factory manager Imran Zaidi.
  • Court cancelled the bail a day earlier and police have arrested all three suspects.


A district and sessions court has issued its written orders on the bail application of the suspects in the Korangi factory fire incident — which killed 16 people — and has held the factory owners and concerned government agencies responsible.

A day earlier, the court had cancelled the interim bail granted to landowner Faisal Tariq, factory owner Hassan Ali Mehta, and factory manager Imran Zaidi and ordered their arrest.

The court's written decision said that not including the concerned government agencies in the case would be an injustice to the deceased.

The court said the factory in Mehran Town was built on a residential plot without the permission of the concerned agencies.

In its written decision issued on Wednesday, the court said there were no fire protection arrangements in the building, causing the deaths of 16 people as the doors were closed.

The Karachi court said that the fire brigade arrived late and the civil defence personnel were untrained.

What do the police and SBCA say?

When the police had questioned the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) authorities, it turned out that according to the property documents, a residential building had been constructed in place of the factory.

SBCA said that a construction map comprising five bedrooms, a kitchen, and a restroom had been approved because the place where the factory building was constructed is a residential area. The map did not include a fire exit, which is mandatory for factories.

SBCA authorities added that when the factory building was being constructed in a residential area, everyone remained quiet, adding that even the police silently watched but did not take action.

Police added that the factory owner, Hassan Ali Mehta, used a single identity card number to register the names of two people.

He first got an identity card issued against the name of Murtaza Hassan in Pakistan, while he changed his name to Hassan Ali Mehta in the United Kingdom without publicly announcing a change of name.

The police added that Mehta signed a contract with the factory owner in 2019.

Deadly Karachi chemical factory fire kills 16 labourers

On August 27, 16 labourers lost their lives in a fire that broke out at a chemical factory in Mehran Town, Korangi. A day later, a case had been registered against the owner, manager, supervisors and watchman of the chemical factory.

Mehta, Zaidi, two supervisors Zafar and Rehan, and watchman Syed Zarin had been named in the FIR registered at the Korangi Industrial Area police station. The case had been registered under Sections 34 and Section 322 for the deaths of the workers.

According to the FIR, there was no emergency exit in case of an unfortunate incident and there was only one way out of the facility.

The FIR stated that there was no alarm system in the factory either and that the janitor was asked to open the lock. The building was constructed in such a way that no one could get out in an emergency, the FIR said.