Hearing adjourned till September 4
A Karachi sessions court has approved the pre-arrest bails of Hassan Ali Mehta and Faisal Tariq arrested in the Korangi factory fire case.
Last month, 17 labourers were killed in the blaze at the chemical factory. An FIR has been registered against the factory owner under sections of murder.
In a hearing on Saturday, the court accepted their bail pleas against surety bonds of Rs500,000 each. The police have been instructed to issue notices to all the other respondents in the case and submit their responses by September 4.
Advocate Hassan Sabir, the suspects’ lawyers, told the court that the fire started because of a short circuit. “On the day of the incident, there was a power outage at the factory all day.”
When the electricity was restored, the voltage was very high.
Sabir added that the matter got worse when the fire brigade team failed to reach on time. “All the departments should be included in the investigation and the real culprits should be arrested.”
Earlier this week, the Interior Ministry placed Mehta and Ali’s names on the Exit Control List.
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.
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.
On the other hand, three officers of the Sindh Building and Control Authority have been suspended as well for not taking action against the illegal factory built on a residential plot.
An inquiry committee has been formed to probe into the approval of the building plan.