Baldia factory fire case: ATC postpones announcing verdict till Sept 22
KARACHI (92 News) – An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Thursday postponed the announcement of the Baldia factory fire case verdict against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui and nine others till September 22. It is pertinent to mention here that The factory was set ablaze eight years ago. The highly-anticipated decision, almost eight years after a raging blaze swept through a garment facility in Pakistan's financial capital, killing over 260 people, would now be announced on September 22, the court said during a hearing. Among those presented at the hearing were MQM leader Rauf Siddiqui, who is out on bail, and Dr Abdul Sattar — the adopted son of PSP's Anees Qaimkhani who is accused in the case. The court reserved its verdict on September 2 as prosecution rested its case after recording material evidence including forensic, ballistic and chemical analysis reports and testimonies of 400 witnesses against the accused. Over 250 workers were burnt alive when the multi-storey garment factory was set on fire in Baldia Town on September 11, 2012. Initially, factory owner Abdul Aziz Bhaila, his two sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, a general manager and four gatekeepers were charge-sheeted for their alleged negligence. However, according to the JIT report, the factory fire was not an accident, it was an act of terrorism. The fire was started in the factory for non-payment of Rs200 million as extortion money, it stated. According to report, MQM’s Hamad Siddiqui and Rehman Bhola demanded extortion money from the factory owner but the initial investigation had not mentioned about the extortion money anywhere in the FIR or in the investigation.