Prosecutor in Baldia factory fire case steps down

Published February 16, 2015
- Screenshot by DawnNews shows lawyer Shazia Hanjra speaking to reporters
- Screenshot by DawnNews shows lawyer Shazia Hanjra speaking to reporters

KARACHI: Special prosecutor Shazia Hanjra separated herself from the Baldia Town case and sent a written notification in this regard to the Sindh government on Monday.

Hanjra confirmed to Dawn that she has submitted her resignation to the Ministry of Law. A private practicing lawyer, Hanjra was appointed special public prosecutor for the Baldia Town factory fire case on behalf of the state.

Also read | Baldia factory fire: Victim families’ hope for justice fading away

Hanjra said investigating authorities had not been cooperating with her and that Investigating Officer (IO) Sub-Inspector Jehanzeb had given a no objection certificate to the factory owners' bail application. She added that the IO had still not given her a copy of investigation documents.

The prosecutor expressed her concerns regarding the delay in the case and said that the Sindh High Court's directives were not being followed by the government and that was due to the lack of cooperation by the investigation officer.

Sources added Hanjra could not continue with the case due to security risks. It has been learnt that the special prosecutor was not provided with security while travelling to and from the premises of the court. Previously, Hanjra had written to the government on the matter, but there has been no progress on her plea.

She had notified the Law Department and the Sindh government regarding security risks asking to be provided with security at her home, office and during travel. However, no police personnel were deployed for Hanjra's security.

The process for appointing a new prosecutor in the case is under way, however, the government has not disclosed any names as yet.

It is expected that in the next few hours the Sindh government along with the Law Department may look at the list of prosecutors and select someone in Hanjra's place.

The Baldia Town factory inferno case took a dramatic turn last week when a report by Rangers claimed that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was behind the deadly fire that claimed the lives of at least 258 factory workers.

The report prepared by a joint investigation team (JIT) was submitted to the Sindh High Court by an additional attorney general, along with a statement of the deputy assistant judge advocate general of Rangers, Major Ashfaque Ahmed.

The statement said that the information had been disclosed by suspect Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi, an alleged worker of the MQM, on June 22, 2013 during joint investigation of the factory inferno.

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