Baldia factory set ablaze on orders of Hammad Siddiqui, court told
KARACHI: Prime accused in the Baldia factory fire case Rehman Bhola has confessed his offence before the investigators and named names who actually ordered to set garments factory on fire over non-payment of extortion.
More than 250 labourers lost their lives when the factory Ali Enterprises, located in city’s Baldia Town area, was set ablaze in September 2012.
Bhola, who was arrested from Thailand for his involvement in the case, appeared before the anti-terrorism court today. His confession report was also produced, which stated that Hammad Siddiqui sought extortion and shares in the company from factory owners, and upon refusal, he decided to punish them.
“Siddiqui ordered his men to punish the factory owners to the core, and subsequently the factory was set ablaze,” Bhola told the investigators.
After the hearing, the ATC also issued red warrants for Siddiqui.
Bhola was arrested after a two-member team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) left for Bangkok to bring him back with the help of interpol.
Interpol officials had earlier arrested Bhola with the help of the commandos of Thai police from a Bangkok hotel in Thailand.
‘Breakthrough’ in investigation
On 14th January 2015, Sindh High Court (SHC) had summoned the joint investigation report of the incident.
The probe report, presented to the high court, stated that the prime suspect in the case has been apprehended who confessed that the high level officials had demanded of Rs. 200 million from the factory owners.
Then a major development took place after 3 years in the case as the investigation report stated that the factory was set ablaze on the directives of a political party’s stakeholder.
German discount clothes retailer KiK had agreed to pay another $5.15 million in compensation to victims of Baldia factory fire, the company said in a statement in September this year.
The sum will come on top of the $1 million (890,000 euros) KiK paid out in late 2012 in the wake of the devastating fire at the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi that killed at least 255 people, the company said.
“KiK has voluntarily taken on responsibility for those affected, because this aid was a real concern for us,” chief executive Patrick Zahn said in a statement published on the firm’s website on Friday.
KiK said the final compensation figure was agreed after months of talks with victims’ representatives, the International Labour Organization, the German development ministry and the Clean Clothes Campaign — which fights for improved working conditions in the garment industry.
After the Karachi fire, the European Parliament told big brands to re-examine their supply chains in Pakistan and demanded the creation of a new effective and independent system to monitor factories.