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Baldia factory case verdict to be announced on September 17

Coincidentally, it is also the MQM founder’s birthday

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 2, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 2, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

File photo shows fire-fighters trying to control the blaze at the garment factory in Baldia (File photo: AFP)

An anti-terrorism court in Karachi reserved on Wednesday its verdict in the Baldia factory fire case and it will be announced on September 17.

Coincidentally, September 17 is MQM founder Altaf Hussain’s date of birth.

At least 259 factory workers were burnt alive after a deadly fire erupted at the factory in Baldia Town on September 11, 2012. Nine people affiliated with the MQM, including Hammad Siddiqui, Rehman Bhola and Zubair alias Chariya, have been charged with setting the garment factory on fire after the factory owners refused to pay them Rs200 million as ‘protection’ money.

The factory owners had held the MQM responsible for the fire. At least 400 eye witnesses and other people have recorded their statements in the case, according to the court documents.

In 2015, a joint investigation team was formed to probe the incident. Its report was, however, released a few months ago. According to the report, an accused had told the investigators that Hammad Siddiqui had demanded Rs200 million from the owners of the factory through his frontman Rehman Bhola in August 2012.

According to the JIT, the Punjab forensic agency had confirmed that it was an arson incident because there was no evidence to suggest that electrical short circuit caused the fire.

The report quoted the forensic agency as saying that the fire spread over a large area because the “combustible material” was present there.

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