Baldia factory fire: SHC grants bail to all accused

Published: February 11, 2013
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File photo of factory owners Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila speaking to the media. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

File photo of factory owners Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila speaking to the media. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI: All accused in the Baldia factory fire case, including the factory owners, were awarded bail by the Sindh High Court on Monday, reported Express News.

Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai of SHC ordered the release of all the accused who were earlier arrested in the case. Factory owners Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila will have to submit surety bonds worth Rs1 million, while the other accused will submit bonds worth Rs200,000.

The Bhaila brothers own Ali Enterprises, the garment factory in Karachi that caught fire on September 11 last year and resulted in the deaths of over 250 workers.

The police arrested Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila after a sessions court rejected their pre-arrest bail applications on October 6, 2012. Their ailing father, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, was granted bail due to old age. The case was registered under sections related to murder against the factory owners, its general manager, security guards and some government officials over negligence.

Last month, the prime minister faced a lot of criticism after he ordered murder charges against the owners to be dropped.

Tired of waiting for the remains of their loved ones to be identified, families of the Baldia fire victims had also agreed to the government’s proposal to hold a mass burial for charred corpses that are lying at Edhi morgue.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Mahmood
    Feb 11, 2013 - 11:53AM

    Welcome to justice in Pakistan.

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  • Mahmood
    Feb 11, 2013 - 11:55AM

    To the customers of the accused: Look at who you’re working with – if you support their business(es), the blood of the deceased (or future dead) will be on your hands as well. Do the right thing and support only safe and ethical businesses in Pakistan.

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  • B
    Feb 11, 2013 - 12:14PM

    Finally! Im sure people are going to come out and say emotional or uninformed things here. But the fact is that these guys dint run away when they could have. Theyve spent time in jail. Theyre willing to compensate the victims AND most of all, they are NOT murderers. What happened was tragic indeed. But accidents do happen and someone should not be unlawfully punished for it.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Feb 11, 2013 - 12:53PM

    They are following instructions of Raja Rental that Sec. 302 should be removed. The owners once free are going to be on the first plane for the UK or Dubai, even if they are on ECL. By By good citizens.

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  • kalia
    Feb 11, 2013 - 1:27PM

    good move, accidents can’t be called murder….

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  • Adnan
    Feb 11, 2013 - 2:59PM

    @B:
    @kalia:
    I am surprised by your lack of knowledge and lack understanding of the conditions in which these poor factory workers are working. Our local industry owners do very bit even to save a penny, they have two books of accounts one for their own purposes and for tax purposes so they can avoid tax. They ignore safety rules, just because if safety regulations are adhered to, it means more expenses which only offset income and therefore is of no value to them. Safety training is not given, as that will mean that the manpower will not be working during those hours of training. There are no fire exits, fire alarms not tested so in most of the cases not working. On hygiene, you cannot even imagine going to the toilets these factories have. There are toilets for executives which are being regularly cleaned, whereas workers toilet are not even cleaned in years.
    These poor worker just to make their ends meet, work in these conditions and if voice is raised against these conditions it means joblessness. With no one protecting employees right in our country, sacking an employee is a very easy. These industrialist will get anyone else, who happily wants to work in these conditions because of the hunger his family is going through.
    A worker working in an organisation is the responsibility of that organisation and vice a versa, if a employee do a fraud or do a theft in that organisation than that employee will be held responsible and will be handed over, so if an employers fails to provide adequate conditions to the workers and workers work in a life threatening condition, than why these culprits should not be brought to justice, what is emotional and uninformed about this?

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  • B
    Feb 11, 2013 - 8:11PM

    @Adnan
    I myself have had experience of running a textile business, and i agree with most of the things you write about the GENERAL working condition in Pakistan. But, since i was in the industry and have personally visited the premises of Ali Enterprises a few years ago (it was a business visit), i know for a fact how modern and well equipped this factory was. Rarely are Pakistani companies so well built out and organized. This is what i will call uninformed. Because i don’t think anyone commenting on this forum has or had seen Ali Enterprises.

    If there is anyone to blame, it is the fire department for not reaching on time. Also the law enforcement agencies which failed to prevent the “bhatta” culture prevalent in the SITE area. Anyhow, the Baldia Factory incident was a tragedy, and rather than working towards ruining a businessman’s life, it will be more constructive if people worked towards bringing in reform in this industry.

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  • Adnan
    Feb 11, 2013 - 9:51PM

    @B:
    I take you word on Ali Enterprise, however being worked as an auditor I have also visited numerous factories and offices and except for factories owned multinational companies, the condition of locally owned factories is as I described.
    There is no emphasis on safety, health or hygiene, fire equipments are rusted, expired and some time use door holders.
    Will just give one example, I was visiting premises with my team for an audit, the manager administration came to us and asked if I can spare on or two of my staff for few hours. On my enquiry he replied that ‘Civil Defence’ people are here to give training and we have to spare few people for training and as the staff is busy in work, no one can be spared so if someone is my team is not doing any urgent work, they can be used to fill the room.
    Ali Enterprise be a state of art factory, however despite the fact that fire department did not reaching on time, law enforcement did not worked properly, those people who died that day was responsibility of the employers.
    As I said previously if a poor worker would have stolen some money to feed his family, would that worker be spared? If the answer is no and it should be as factory’s assets should be protected by the workers, than my friend how can you spare the employers from taking care of the vital asset of any organization i.e. its employees.
    The only way we can protect workers continue to die, is to investigate and prosecute the culprits and give a message to others sitting on seat of responsibility and power, that those people who are power behind your empire should treated as humans and protected.

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  • NAR
    Feb 12, 2013 - 1:12AM

    @Mahmood

    Please give me ONE logical reason as to why the owners would burn their own factory and murder 250+ employees along with that?

    The owners didn’t run away and have spent enough time in jail for a crime they didn’t commit. If you talk about negligence, then the inspection authorities and the officers that granted the factory an NOC should be charged for murder, manslaughter and negligence. The owners have clearly been framed in this case. They should have been granted bail a long time ago.

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  • Feb 12, 2013 - 7:21PM

    @B
    They ran away for few days and disappeared until they got bail in Larkana, who helped them in larkana please connect the dots. And after bail end up in Islamabad. Welcome to Pakistan with money and connections everything is possibleRecommend

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