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‘Baldia factory set on fire over non-payment of extortion,’ ATC told

KARACHI: A key witness in the Baldia factory fire case on Tuesday confessed before the anti terrorism court that the factory was set on fire after its owners refused to pay an extortion amount to a political party, ARY News reported.

The production in-charge of the factory appeared before the ATC today and submitted that leaders of the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) ordered to set the factory ablaze after owners of Ali Enterprises responded in negative to the extortion demand made by political leaders of the party.

The same revelation was unearthed an year ago during investigation when it transpired that the incident was actually a foul play than a tragedy.

Read: 13 more witnesses record statements in Baldia factory fire case

The factory’s production in-charge said he had requested the MQM worker Zubair alias Charya, who was working as a messenger, to reduce the extortion demand to Rs 10 million. However he insisted that the amount couldn’t be less than Rs 200 million.

The worker also threatened of dire consequences if the extortion was not paid. He revealed that the factory was later set on fire due to non-settlement over amount, the factory officer revealed.

More than 332 witnesses have recorded their statements so far. The prosecution had submitted a list of 720 witnesses in the case.

Earlier, a German court, on January 10, had threw out a lawsuit by Pakistani plaintiffs against clothing retailer KiK over a deadly 2012 fire at a Karachi garment factory, saying the statute of limitations had expired.

Dubbed as Pakistan’s 9/11, the blaze at the Ali Enterprises factory, or Baldia Factory Fire, had killed 258 people in one of Pakistan’s worst industrial disasters.

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