(Court): ATC delays verdict in Baldia factory fire case

Karachi:An anti-terrorism court on Thursday delayed its verdict in the Baldia factory fire case till September 22 which was expected to be announced today (17 September).

An anti-terrorism court (ATC-VII) heard the petition at the judicial complex inside Karachi Central Jail. The court adjourned the hearing after the state prosecutor submitted further documents.

The petition was filed by two accused in the case, Ali Hassan Qadri and Dr Abdul Sattar Khan, to delay the verdict of the case. They said that they wanted time to prove that they received Rs50 million compensation for the victims from the factory owners, and they also presented records from the Sindh finance department.

They said that they had business connection with the Baldia brothers because of which the money was transferred to them. The public prosecutor submitted to the court the list of victims who received compensation from the government and a foreign buyer of Ali Enterprises’ products.

On 11 September 2012, over 260 workers were burnt alive in a multi-storey Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town. The factory, Ali Enterprises, is located on Hub River Road and belongs to Abdul Aziz Bhaila and his two sons, Rashid Aziz and Shahid Aziz.

According to the case, nine people affiliated with the MQM, including Rehman Bhola, a former sector in-charge, and Zubair alias Charya, have been charged with setting the garment factory on fire after the factory owners refused to pay them Rs200 million as ‘protection’ money’.

Bhola has been accused of throwing a chemical at the factory and setting it on fire on the instructions of the former chief of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, according to the report of the third JIT formed in the case. The Sindh government has made the report public.