The provincial government has constituted a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the 2012 Baldia Town factory fire incident which claimed the lives of around 259 workers in Karachi.
The decision was taken by the Sindh Home Department after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered reinvestigation by forming a new JIT during the apex committee meeting held at Governor House Sindh in Karachi recently.
According to the notification issued by the Home Ministry on Wednesday, the newly formed body would be headed by Additional IG Sindh Police’s Crime Branch Khadim Hussain Bhatti while officials of other law enforcement and intelligence agencies including Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and DIG Crimes Mushtaq Maher will be members of the team.
Earlier, a report prepared and submitted to the Sindh High Court by a JIT blamed Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for the incident, however, the party had denied its involvement and termed the charge ‘fictitious’ and ‘biased’. It had also demanded for reinvestigation of the Baldia garment factory fire incident.
The newly formed JIT will reinvestigate the Baldia incident and also analyse the previous JIT report before sending it to the federal government upon completion.
On the other hand, the law enforcement agencies have also decided to recapture Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi and placed his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Qureshi’s name was highlighted in the media when the Rangers submitted the JIT report to the Sindh High Court (SHC) in the recent past which disclosed that MQM’s men set ablaze the factory after its owner refused to pay an extortion amount. But Qureshi has disappeared since he was released on bail.
Though a fresh JIT – comprising police officials, FIA and Rangers – has been formed, sources in the police department told The Express Tribune that the police have decided to put Qureshi’s name on the ECL.
Besides Qureshi, the request was also made for placing the names of other persons on ECL who were accused of being involved in the Baldia incident by Qureshi in the previous JIT.
A member of the newly formed body also told The Express Tribune that the team will also interrogate Qureshi after arresting him while they will also record the statements of the factory owners and the workers.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2015.
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