KARACHI: The proceedings of the Baldia factory fire incident of 2012 were adjourned after the court was informed that a team of investigators is leaving for United Kingdom on Sunday to record statements of the factory owners.
The additional district and sessions judge, Naushaba Kazi, took up the matter on Saturday, when the first investigating officer filed an application. The officer said that the owners of the factory were residing abroad since past many months and a team of investigators will visit UK to record their statements. He requested an adjournment in the proceedings until then.
Earlier, the provincial authorities had ordered a reinvestigation of the case after it took a dramatic turn following the submission of a report prepared by a joint investigation team in Sindh High court in February. The report revealed that the factory was set on fire over non-payment of protection money.
The court has adjourned the hearing till November 7. However, it issued warrants for the arrest of the general manager of the factory over his unexplained absence. The judge also expressed displeasure over the non-appointment of a special public prosecutor (SPP) in the case despite court orders. The then SPP Shazia Hanjra dissociated herself from the trial shortly after the report surfaced at SHC.
The owner, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, his sons, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, general manager Mansoor and some gatekeepers of the factory were initially booked and charge sheeted in the tragic incident in which 259 workers were burnt alive in September 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2015.