Seventeen workers were killed in a blaze last week
The investigation team, probing the fire that erupted at a factory in Karachi’s Mehran Town, has approached the Federal Investigation Agency seeking the placement of the factory owner’s name on the Exit Control List.
Last week, 17 labourers were killed in the blaze at the chemical factory. An FIR has been registered against the factory owner under sections of murder.
Late Monday night, the police raided Ali Mehta’s residence but failed to arrest him. “He escaped before we reached there and his mobile phone has been switched off ever since the incident was reported,” the investigation officer said.
The police have requested the FIA to provide them Mehta’s travel history. The agency, after consultation with the Interior Ministry, has placed the factory owner’s name on ECL.
On Monday, a petition seeking judicial inquiry into the fire was submitted in the Sindh High Court. It stated that the factory was built on a residential plot. It didn’t have any precautionary measures for fire incidents, nor did it have any fire exits or equipment such as extinguishers.
The petition added that the FIR of the incident registered at the Korangi police station includes sections 322 and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code. This should be replaced by section 302 [punishment for murder].
“The incident is not an accident, but is a clear murder and attempt of murder.”
Deputy Commissioner Korangi has sent an initial report of the incident to the Commissioner of Karachi.
The fire broke out at 10:08 am. There were no emergency exits doors and it took nine hours to extinguish the fire. Due to lack of arrangements, the workers died by suffocation, according to the initial report.
The factory has been sealed.
Chief Fire Officer Mubeen Ahmed told SAMAA TV that the blaze erupted on the first floor. “We used snorkels and cranes to reach the second floor.”
Ahmed added that the door to the roof of the factory was locked. “If the door had been open, it would have been easier to rescue the labourers,” he said.
Three SBCA officers have been suspended, including assistant director, senior building inspector and building inspector for not taking action against the illegal factory built on a residential plot.
An inquiry committee has been formed comprising three senior SBCA directors. It will investigate those responsible for approving the building plan. The inquiry report will be submitted to the SBCA director general within seven days.