26 January 2021
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The families of three victims of the 2012 Baldia factory fire have filed a suit against the factory owners seeking compensation of Rs14.6 million.

The application has been filed by Amna, Rehmat Ali, Ghulam Sarwar in a District West sessions court.

Advocate Usman Farooq argued that there was no emergency exit at the factory or safety precautions in place for the factory workers. The factory owners are also responsible for the deaths caused by the fire, he said.

The families of the victims said that they lost their breadwinners in the fire, and the Sindh government promised to compensate them but those promises were never fulfilled.

We were promised jobs and plots but nothing has been given to us, said a family member of a person killed in the fire.

The two MQM workers, Muhammad Zubair alias Chariya and Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, were sentenced to death by a Karachi anti-terrorism court for setting fire to the factory. Eight others were convicted too.

Two-hundred-and-sixty-fours workers were burnt alive in a factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town on September 11, 2012. The factory, Ali Enterprises, is located on Hub River Road and belongs to Abdul Aziz Bhaila and his two sons, Rashid Aziz and Shahid Aziz. German discount clothing retailer KiK (Kunde ist König, which in English translates into ‘Customer is King’) was the factory’s main customer.

Nine people affiliated with the MQM, including Rauf Siddiqui, Rehman Bhola, a former sector in-charge, and Zubair alias Charya, were charged with setting the garment factory on fire after the factory owners refused to pay them Rs200 million as ‘protection’ money.

Bhola has been convicted of throwing a chemical at the factory and setting it on fire on the instructions of the former chief of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, according to the report of the third JIT formed in the case. The Sindh government has made the report public.

Abdul Gh Lone

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