Karachi factory fire: Court grants bail to factory owners

Owner quiet over extortion rumours, says an 'important person' told them to leave the factory.

Sarfaraz Memon September 14, 2012

SUKKUR: 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.


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Asif | 8 years ago | Reply SGRR : CCTV shows fire starting on 1st Floor at 6:56pm and Jang shows fire fighters were there at 7:20. Even if that's true, fire started in the warehouse which was in the basement and it must have taken quite some time to spread from basement to ground floor and then to the first floor. Hence it's highly possible that owners are right. We should all stop being detectives, especially the media should exhibit responsible journalism. We cannot investigate And we can certainly not conduct a public trial. Owners are being very responsible and facing everything with courage. They are also the victims of the negligence of SITE limited, SITE fire department and the government in general. They lost all that was gradually built in last 20 years with tremendous hard work. Government should compensate the worker's families and also the owners of the factory. Site industrialists are one of the major contributors to Pakistan in terms of income taxes, property taxes and jobs but in return what do they get : Extortion, threats, No roads, No emergency services, No fire fighting services, no water and no law and order. Not only the industries minister but MD SITE LTD, Chief of SITE Fire dept, should also immediately resign and this incident should be thoroughly and professionally investigated.
Sara | 8 years ago | Reply

At least the factory owners came back to face the music. What about all the other deaths and tragedies - Bhoja Air, hundreds of bus and truck accidents, that take place daily? Was anybody ever arrested or sentenced? How about the people who were dragged and shot because of their religious status? Will anybody ever catch their murderers?

These factory owners came or were forced back- even though the press was ready to crucify them. It was a terrible tragedy and shows the vulnerability of the system.

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