Two years after factory fire tragedy, trial yet to start

Published August 24, 2014
Firefighters and medical personnel take part of rescue operation in the Baldia Town garment factory in Karachi. — Photo by AFP
Firefighters and medical personnel take part of rescue operation in the Baldia Town garment factory in Karachi. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Despite the passage of around two years, the trial of the case pertaining to the devastating fire that broke out in a Baldia Town garment factory in which over 250 workers died has yet to commence, it emerged on Saturday.

The owner of the industrial unit, Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons — Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila — general manager Mansoor and some gatekeepers have been booked in the case while on the directive of a magistrate, the then managing director of SITE Abdul Rasheed Solangi, labour department director Zahid Gulzar Shaikh, additional controller of civil defence Ghulam Akbar and chief inspector (electrical) Amjad Ali were also named in the case for their alleged negligence.

However, the case has yet to reach the stage of indictment as the process of supplying copies of evidence to suspects has not been completed while the issue of removal of section of the premeditated murder offence from the last charge-sheet also has remained undecided.

Earlier, the copies of prosecution documents have been partly provided to the suspects as required under Section 265-C (supply of statements and documents to accused) of the criminal procedure code.

The case was fixed before additional district and sessions judge (west) Naushaba Kazi on Saturday for supply of remaining documents, but it was adjourned till Sept 27, since the judge was on leave.

The investigating officer had twice charge-sheeted the owners and others in interim and final charge-sheets under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 322 (qatl-bis-sabab) and other sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.

But in the supplementary charge-sheet filed earlier in 2013, the IO had shown the four officials innocent and also removed the Section 302 of the PPC against other suspects.

However, the fate of supplementary charge-sheet still hung in the balance since a special public prosecutor opposed the removal of the premeditated murder offence and said that the IO filed it without her permission while the complainant side also moved the high court in this regard.

About the delay in commencement of the trial, court sources said that initially a sessions judge had referenced the case to the district court asking it to transfer the case to any other court for trial.

Moreover, the trial court remained vacant for some time, the IO and the prosecutor were on leave for a few months and some petitions about the case were filed in the high court last year, which were still pending, they added.

According to the prosecution, a devastating fire that engulfed the multi-storey factory building in Baldia Town on the evening of Sept 11, 2012 within the remit of the SITE-B police station, left over 250 workers dead. All the suspects are out on bail.

A case (FIR No 343/12) was registered against the factory owners and others under Sections 302, 322, 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage etc), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc), 337 (Shajjah) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Published in Dawn, August 24th , 2014

Opinion

Story of the last tamarind leaf
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Story of the last tamarind leaf

These journalists speak for all the troubled features of India’s democracy that Mr Modi didn’t tell the G7 about.
Understanding abuse
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Understanding abuse

Condemnations have been rare while there is no debate on the prevalence of such abuse beyond the Mufti Azizur Rehman case.
The roots of hate
Updated 21 Jun 2021

The roots of hate

The reference to being ‘out-populated’ is a popular theme in modern neo-Nazi and white supremacist thought.

Editorial

Describing OBL
22 Jun 2021

Describing OBL

FM Qureshi’s non-committal reply to question about Osama being a terrorist or a martyr has sent the wrong message to the world.
22 Jun 2021

A neglected sector

THE PTI legislators joined forces with opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly the other day to take their own...
22 Jun 2021

Air safari

THE resumption of PIA’s air safari flights to Skardu will hopefully attract international and domestic tourists,...
Poll consensus
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Poll consensus

If the govt is reluctant to take part in an APC on poll reforms, then it must ensure that parliament can be used for this purpose.
21 Jun 2021

Global displacement

THE number of globally displaced persons shared by the UN’s refugee agency in a report released on Friday is...
21 Jun 2021

KP budget

THE KP budget 2021-22 is a sort of please-all document that hands out something to almost everyone in the hope of...