Baldia factory fire act of terrorism: JIT

MQM sector incharge had asked for extortion money of Rs250m from factory owners

Our Correspondent July 06, 2020


 The Baldia factory inferno joint investigation team (JIT) report has been brought to the fore in which important revelations have been made.

 The 27-page report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, stated that Baldia factory incident was an act of organised terrorism.

 The report said that the factory was set on fire for not paying extortion money of up to Rs250 million and leaders of a major Karachi-based ethnic group – Hammad Siddiqui and Rahman Bhola – were involved in the act.

 It stated that the Baldia factory case was handled in a non-professional manner and from day it was dealt with in such a way that the group involved in the act of terrorism benefitted.

 It further said that certain elements tried to influence the investigation internally and externally and added that the act of terrorism was presented in the first information report (FIR) in such a manner as if it was a normal act of murder.

 “The police, being under pressure, handled the case in a partial manner,” it said.

 The JIT called for registering a new FIR of the incident and include Rahman Bhola, Hammad Siddiqui, Zubair Chariya and other accused in it.

 The investigation report revealed that a 1,000 square yards bungalow was acquired in Hyderabad with the extortion money before the Baldia factory fire incident occurred.

 The formation of JIT was delayed for a period of two-and-a-half years due to which the crime scene was compromised over which the probing body faced difficulties in collecting evidences.

 The JIT report said that irresponsible behavior of the police, faults in investigation and serious negligence had been witnessed.

 It noted that the police was not only unsuccessful but was also tried to protect the accused.

 The JIT report has recommended bringing back the accused from abroad, confiscating their passports and enlisting their names in the exit control list and called for protecting the witnesses.

 The report said that the MQM Baldia sector had influence in the administrative affairs of the Baldia factory.

 A factory employee said that the workers of MQM Baldia sector would ask for extortion money using different tactics.

 It was further told that the then sector in charge of MQM Rahman Bhola came to the factory and exchanged hard words with the factory owners Shahid Bhaila and Arshad Bhaila.

 He demanded an extortion of up to Rs250 million from them in the name of MQM leader Hammad Siddiqui.

 Bhola threatened the factory owners that in case of non-payment of the extortion money, a partnership deal should be struck with them.

 Around 259 workers were burnt alive, while several were injured in the multi-storey building of the Ali Enterprises garment factory on September 11, 2012.

 The Sindh government has announced to make the JIT reports of Baldia factory fire incident and Lyari gang kingpin Uzair Baloch public on Monday (today).


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