Owner among eight remanded in police custody in Karachi factory stampede case

Published April 2, 2023
People mourn the death of a relative, who was killed with others in a stampede during handout distribution, at a hospital morgue in Karachi, Pakistan on March 31, 2023. — Reuters
People mourn the death of a relative, who was killed with others in a stampede during handout distribution, at a hospital morgue in Karachi, Pakistan on March 31, 2023. — Reuters

KARACHI: A judicial magistrate on Saturday remanded in police custody eight persons, including the factory owner, for five days in a case pertaining to the death of around a dozen people in a stampede during the distribution of handouts in the SITE area on Friday.

While the police insisted that 11 people — eight women and three children — died in the incident, an Edhi Foundation spokesperson put the number of deceased at 12. One victim woman hailed from Mirpur Mathelo as her coffin was sent there. All other victims were residents of Karachi.

Keamari SSP Fida Hussain Janwari identified the held suspects as F. K. Dyeing owner Abdul Khaliq, and employees Ali Mohammed Yunus, Khursheed Ahmed, Sajid Ali, Mohammed Yaseen, Ghufran Ali, Azhar Mehmood, Ali Ahmed and Husain Zada.

They were produced before the judicial magistrate (West), who remanded them in police custody for further investigations. The court directed the investigating officer to file a progress report on the next date.

Police register FIR on manslaughter charges

A case was registered against the factory owner and eight others under Sections 322 (manslaughter), 337-H (punishment for hurt by rash or negligent act) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on behalf of the state at the SITE-A police station.

The FIR stated that during zakat distribution the factory watchman opened a small gate attached to the main gate and women and children tried to enter by pushing each other. The situation led to a stampede resulting in 11 deaths and nine injuries.

Dyeing pumps burst

On Saturday, the assistant commissioner-SITE submitted a report to the deputy commissioner, Keamari stating that the situation went out of control when all dyeing water pumps at the factory burst under the weight of a large number of people.

The report stated that a private handout distribution event was arranged at the dyeing factory without informing the local administration and police.

“It is further submitted that no NOC was taken from the district administration and charity work was carried out on the premises of the factory and the door was closed that’s why the activity was invisible,” the report stated.

Meanwhile, Police Surgeon Summaiya Syed said: “All dead had multiple traumatic injuries on different parts of the body, especially head, face and chest which led to death due to traumatic asphyxia/suffocation.”

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2023

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