Baldia factory was set on fire under a plan, says IO

IO ordered to produce petitioner in hate speech cases

Nasir Butt June 16, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The first investigation officer (IO) of the Baldia Factory fire case deposed before a special anti-terrorism court on Saturday that the garment factory was set on fire under a well-planned scheme.

After recording and completion of cross questioning of the statement of the first IO, Zafar Iqbal, the court summoned other witnesses on the next hearing.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) leader Rauf Siddiqui and others appeared before the ATC hearing the case at Karachi Central jail. The jail authorities presented accused former sector in-charge Rehman Bhola and Zubair alias Charya.  Zafar Iqbal besides recordin his statement also presented pictorial evidences related to the fire incident in Baldia factory.

He said in his statement that the fire didn't break out in the factory instead the factory was set on fire. The fire occurred on the second and ground floors of the factory at the same time and it was a plot to set the factory on fire. "I went to Zubair Charya's house to arrest him after we found the evidences against him but he fled from his house. Later I was removed from the investigations," said Zafar.

The counsels for accused completed the cross questioning on witness' statement. The court summoned more witnesses on June 22.

Petitioner called

Another ATC-10 ordered the investigation officer to present the petitioner before the court under any circumstances in the hearing of a plea to make the hate speech cases B class.

The court was hearing two hate speech cases at Karachi Central jail. Dr Farooq Sattar, Rauf Siddiqui, Waseem Akhter and others appeared in the court. The court expressed annoyance over the absence of petitioner.

Court remarked that the case is facing delay for several months due to the absence of petitioner to record his statement. The decision over the plea of making the cases B class will be made after the petitioner's statement. Court ordered the investigation officer to produce the petitioner in court under any circumstances and adjourned the hearing till July 27.

The police have declared the accused innocent and both cases against the accused were registered at Site Super Highway police station.

Warrants issued

A special anti-terrorism court issued non-bailable arrest warrants of the accused in the case of extorting money from women by blackmailing them over their objectionable pictures taken after giving them a dose of sleeping pills.

The ATC was hearing the case at Karachi Central Jail. The Surjani police submitted the case challan in the court which revealed that homeopathic doctor Arshad Hussain Jaffery used to give dose of sleeping pills to the women who visited his clinic alone and took their objectionable pictures after they lost their consciousness.

The women who became the victim identified the accused and recorded their statement in the court. The accused used to send chits demanding extortion money and he has collected millions of rupees as extortion from various women.

The challan says that six accomplices of the accused are currently on the run. They include Musamat Tahira, Zeenat, Farzana, Samia, Arsalan and Saleh. The court accepted the challan and issued non-bailable arrest warrants of the accused. Indictment of the accused is expected on June 27.

Hearing adjourned

Another ATC adjourned the hearing of four cases against former provincial home minister Zulfiqar Mirza and co-accused till July 20, due to court vacations.

The ATC was hearing the cases at Karachi Central Jail. Former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza and other co-accused marked their presence in the court. Four cases against the accused are under trial in the court. Accused Zulfiqar Mirza and others have been indicted in the case. The accused are facing charges of terrorism, vandalism, etc. Cases against the accused are registered at different police stations in Badin. 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2019.

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