The three factory owners facing murder charges for the deaths of over 250 people in their garment factory fire were granted protective bail till September 21 by the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) circuit bench Larkana on Friday.
Abdul Aziz Bhaila and his sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila had appeared before the court through their lawyer Abid Mansoob Qureshi.
Reports said that the single bench, comprising Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi, after hearing the application of Abdul Aziz Bhaila and his sons Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, granted protective bail to them till September 21 for Rs500,000 each.
The court, according to reports, has directed the Interior ministry to place their names on the Exit Control List (ECL), besides ordering the applicants to appear before the investigative officer in Karachi at 9am on Saturday.
The court also directed them to hand over their passports to the reader of the concerned court in Karachi.
Later, talking to the media outside the court premises, Arshad Bhaila said: “I don’t know how the fire started in the factory.”
According to him, the fire started in the warehouse of the factory and as soon as he came to know about it, he immediately called the fire brigade, which took one and half hour to reach the spot.
“The fire tenders had too little water to extinguish the fire and went for refilling to Sakhi Hassan,” said Arshad.
He added that he and his sons remained in the factory till midnight but then an “important person” asked them to leave the premises.
When asked about who the person was and how they had contacted him, he refused to disclose any details.
Replying to a query about whether anybody had done this at their refusal to provide extortion money, Arshad said, “I don’t want to say anything about this.”
He, however, made it clear that there was nothing wrong with the factory and everything was according to factory bylaws.
Expressing his heart felt sorrow over the death of such a large number of workers; he said that their families would be compensated according to the factory and labour laws.
“We have sought this bail because we want to be with our workers who are injured and we want to mitigate their sufferings,” he added.