An anti-terrorism court in Karachi is expected to announce the final verdict in the Baldia factory fire case against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui and nine others. The factory was set ablaze eight years ago.
The verdict was expected to be announced earlier, however, delayed till September 22.
Ali Hassan Qadri, Iqbal Adeeb, and Dr. Abdul Sattar Khan, these three Hyderabad-based businessmen filed a petition to delay the verdict.
They have been accused of receiving Rs 50 million from the factory owners on the pretext of compensation for the victims.
They were indicted on February 14, 2018, but pleaded not guilty. The suspects said on Thursday that they want time to prove that they received Rs50 million from the factory owners and presented records from the Sindh finance department.
They said that had business dealings with the Bhaila brothers because of which the money was transferred to them.
What Happened That Day?
A fire broke out in a denim factory near Hub River Road in the Baldia area of Karachi on September 11, 2012, killing 260 workers and injuring about 50 others.
The JIT report, made in June 2015, two and a half years after the incident, came to light five years later.
The report recommended that the FIR was filed based on” dishonesty” due to the internal and external pressure which turned the act of “terrorism” into a normal fire incident. Therefore, the FIR filed earlier should be returned and a new FIR should be registered.
It was recommended to include names of Rehman Bhola, Hamad Siddiqui, Zubair Charia, four unidentified accomplices, Umar Hassan Qadri, Dr. Abdul Sattar, Ali Hassan Qadri, and Iqbal Adib Khanum in the new FIR.
The verdict was reserved on September 2 after the prosecution and defence concluded their arguments in the case.
Rehman Bhola has been accused of throwing a chemical at the factory and blazing it on the instructions of the former chief of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, according to the report of the third JIT formed in the case. The Sindh government has made the report public.