KARACHI (Dunya News) – Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Amir Khan on Tuesday said that not a single member of his party has been nominated in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report into Baldia Town factory fire incident released by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party-led (PPP) Sindh government.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday, the MQM-P leader ignored the questions on JIT report into Baldia Town factory fire incident and said that not a single member of his party has been nominated in the report, adding that questions should be asked to the ones nominated in the report.
Speaking about the load shedding in the metropolis, Amir Khan said that the Karachiites have been suffering due to the worst power outages, adding that the K-Electric is becoming a mafia.
“Billions of rupees were being earned through overbilling,” he said and added how would the students get education when there are power outages.
He said that the K-Electric is not ready to spend a single penny on Karachi but National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has increased the power tariff by Rs2.98.
Baldia Town factory fire report
The Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) report on the 2012 Karachi factory fire, that was finally made public, has termed the incident an act of “terrorism” and held the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) responsible for it. Around 259 workers were burnt alive and hundreds injured in the multi-storey building of the Ali Enterprises garment factory on September 11, 2012.
The report stated that the factory was set on fire for not paying extortion money of up to Rs250 million and that leaders of Karachi-based political party MQM — mainly Hammad Siddiqui and Rehman Bhola — were involved in the crime.
The 25-page JIT report concluded that the “factory fire was a planned sabotage/terrorist activity and not an accidental fire” carried out “due to refusal to pay extortion (Bhatta) of Rs20 million and partnership in factory profits by factory owners to (MQM) office-bearers.”
The investigation is based on multiple eyewitness accounts and technical reports. The fire, it said, was unnatural and had multiple origins simultaneously. A Punjab Forensic Science Agency report claimed it was an “arson” and there were “no signs of electrical short circuit”. The fire spread over a large area due to combustible material present on the premises.
The report concluded:
1. The factory fire was a planned sabotage/terrorist activity and “not an accidental fire”. It was carried out due to refusal to pay extortion money of Rs200 million.
2. The incident was handled from the beginning in a way to “benefit the offenders” rather “victims of the crime” for some “motive and gains”.
3. The first information report (FIR) did not mention extortion, which JIT considers “element of prime and critical importance”. The lodging of FIR suffered heavily from “tremendous influence” both “internal and extraneous”.
4. The accused absconders should be brought back to the country, arrested, their passports be cancelled and names be put on no-fly list (ECL).
5. The 1,000 square-yard property in Hyderabad, purchased from extorted money, should be transferred back to factory owners.
6. New laws and safety procedures need to be put in place to prevent such terrorist activities, threats and extortions.
7. All witnesses must be provided protection.