KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court issued again on Saturday non-bailable warrants of arrest for former Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Hammad Siddiqui and six other suspects absconding in the Baldia factory fire case.
The ATC-II judge expressed displeasure over the police’s failure to nab the absconding suspects and observed that they were not performing their duty. The judge said that the police did not even maintain records of the suspects’ addresses. When the investigating officer said most of the suspects were untraceable, the judge remarked that the police should have sought help from other law enforcement agencies.
Referring to the case of one of the absconding suspects, Abdul Sattar, the judge said that the investigators could obtain his address from the bank he had an account at. In the recent charge-sheet, Sattar surfaced as a beneficiary of Rs59.8 million deposited by the factory owners to be disbursed among the affectees of the fire through the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. The distribution, however, never took place.
The IO said that help of different agencies had already been sought but no record was found. He said that the suspects were either in hiding or had left the country.
Meanwhile, the factory owners’ counsel pleaded that his clients be deemed as affectees of the fire, not suspects. The lawyer asserted that the charge-sheet stated that his clients were being threatened and due to non-payment of extortion their factory was set on fire. He argued that Rs59.8 million was transferred through Ali Hassan Kadri and Umer Hassan Kadri for the purchase of a factory and not settling the matter by making payments to the victims.
The judge adjourned the hearing till October 18 with directions to the police to arrest the suspects.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2016.