The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday admitted for hearing appeals of five convicts, including two MQM workers, challenging their sentences in the Baldia factory fire case.
A two-judge bench of the SHC issued a notice to the Prosecutor General and sought the complete record of Baldia factory case from the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC).
On September 22, ATC had handed down the verdict sentencing Zubair aka Chariya and Abdul Rehman aka Bhola to death for their role in the deaths of over 260 people in the 2012 Baldia factory fire.
Other convicts who filed the appeals are Fazal Ahmed, Hakeem and Arshad Mahmood. The appellants stated in their pleas that the ATC ignored key evidence while deciding the case.
Zubair and Rehman blamed the factory owners for the fire saying the factory doors were closed when the fire broke out on the orders of the owners.
On September 22, the ATC had convicted MQM’s Bhola and Chariya on eleven counts, handing each of the death sentences on two counts, life sentences on four counts, 10-year prison term on two counts as well as imprisonment of seven, three and two years on three counts.
- Rehman Bhola and Zubair alias Charya awarded the death penalty.
- Rauf Siddiqui acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
- Umar Hassan Qadri, Dr. Abdul Sattar, Iqbal Adeeb Khanum acquitted.
- According to the verdict, Hamad Siddiqui and Ali Hassan Qadri are absconders.
- Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood, Ali Mohammad, and factory manager Shah Rukh were sentenced to life imprisonment for the facilitation of the incident.
Baldia Factory Incident:
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.