The Sindh High Court has yet again ordered the National Forensic Science Agency and others concerned to submit a report regarding the identities of the seventeen workers of the Baldia garments factory, whose bodies were charred beyond recognition in the fire.
Nearly 259 workers were burnt in the country’s worst industrial disaster, when a huge fire reduced the Ali Enterprises to ashes on September 11, 2012. As the repeated DNA tests failed to determine the identities of the victims, the bereaved families had gone to court seeking permission for mass burial.
The judges on February 20 allowed the bereaved families to perform last rites and bury the seventeen unidentified bodies to end the mental torture and agony the families had been going through for the past six months.
Meanwhile, the laboratory’s project director was directed to expedite DNA matching process by drawing fresh samples and submit report by March 11. On Tuesday, the advocate general Abdul Fattah Malik said that while the unidentified bodies were buried following permission granted by the court, none of the relatives of the victims had come forward to pursue DNA testing, thus their identification has yet to be determined.
Regarding compensation, Malik informed the judges that a commission tasked to disburse compensation among the victims’ families had already been constituted and was working in this regard.
Justice Maqbool Baqir, who headed the bench, directed all concerned to complete DNA matching process and submit report within one week.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2013.