The Sindh High Court on Monday rejected the bail request of Zubair alias Charya who is in custody for allegedly setting fire to Baldia Town's Ali Enterprises factory in September 2012.

During the hearing, Zubair's lawyer argued before the court that the prosecution had not been able to present any evidence against his client.

He recalled that 250 people were killed in the 2012 blaze, adding, "It has yet to be proven that my client set fire to the factory." The lawyer asked the court to grant bail to Zubair.

A lawyer representing the Pakistan Rangers said that an anti-terrorism court had rejected Zubair's bail.

The prosecution added that another suspect, Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi, had told the joint investigation team (JIT), which investigated the Baldia factory fire, that the blaze was set as part of a plan.

Abdul Rehman, alias Bhola, the alleged frontman in the 2012 arson attack at the garment factory had also recorded his statement in the case.

Herald Exclusive: Quiet burns the fire

After listening to the arguments presented by both sides, the court rejected the bail request and asked the ATC to speed up the proceedings in the case.

Initially, owner of the factory Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila, a general manager and three gatekeepers were named in the case for their alleged negligence.

However, the case took a turn in February 2015 when Rangers submitted a JIT report in the SHC, which revealed that the factory was set on fire after its owners failed to pay ‘protection money’. Subsequently, the re-investigation of the case was ordered in March 2015 through a JIT.

A police report on the incident said Zubair, an employee of the factory who was affiliated with MQM, along with his four unidentified accomplices, set the factory on fire by throwing some chemicals in the warehouse located in the basement.

Later, Abdul Rehman had confessed in front of a magistrate that he, along with Zubair, had set fire to the garments factory on the instruction of the then chief of the MQM organising committee Hammad Siddiqui as the factory owners had refused to pay the demanded protection money.

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