Baldia factory fire case: SHC summons IO on Zubair Charya’s bail plea

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday summoned investigation officer (IO) of Baldia factory fire case and sought his comments on the bail petition of accused Zubair alias Charya, one of key suspects in the case.

Zubair approached the high court though his counsel after an anti-terrorism court had dismissed his bail plea. More than 250 people were burnt alive in the fire at Ali Enterprises garments factory in Baldia Town, Karachi on September 11, 2012.

His counsel told the judges that Zubair was innocent and falsely implicated in the case, following the statement of another accused Abdul Rehman alias Bhola. He requested the court to grant post-arrest bail to Zubair. While summoning IO of the case, the court put off the hearing till August 31.

Earlier, the SHC bench headed by Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah had refused to hear his bail plea and referred the matter to SHC Chief Justice to fix the same before another bench.

Baldia factory fire was one of the worst industrial incidents in Pakistan’s history. Ali Enterprises caught fire on September 11, 2012, which claimed the lives of 259 workers.

Though it was initially declared an accident; however, the Baldia factory inferno case took a dramatic turn on February 2015 when a report by Rangers claimed that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was behind the deadly fire.

The investigators maintain that the fire was caused by activists belonging to the MQM after the factory owners refused to pay them extortion money.

In the case, only two suspects, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola and Zubair alias Charya, are in custody whereas Hammad Siddiqui, the head of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzimi Committee (KTC) and said to be main culprit behind the inferno, is still on the large.

The Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani, factory owners Abdul Aziz Bhaila, his sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, have now been relieved of the charges.

The charge sheet had also read the name of MQM lawmaker, Rauf Siddiqui, who at that time was the minister of industries and trade in Sindh, as a suspect though he is not implicated as yet.

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