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Relatives of fire victims gather outside the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi. -AFP File  Photo

KARACHI: Owners of the factory, destroyed in a devastating fire in Karachi which left over 250 workers dead, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila recorded their statements on Monday to the tribunal formed to investigate the incident, DawnNews reported.

Earlier on Sept 13, Police in Karachi have registered a murder case against the owners of a garment factory.

At least 258 workers perished in the horrific fire that destroyed the garment factory in Karachi, an unprecedented industrial tragedy that prompted calls for an overhaul of poor safety standards.

The attorney of the factory owners claimed that the police had the footage of 36 CCTV cameras. Adding that, the footage should be presented to the tribunal as evidence.

The owners said that the doors of the factory were not closed. They said that despite many calls to the fire department, the fire fighters reached the factory after an hour of the incident.

“The Police, who reached the factory after 20 minutes of the fire, also tried calling the fire engines,” the brothers claimed.

The owners also claimed that during the fire-fighting and rescue operation by the fire department, the water in their reserves was finished and the rescue operation was halted for sometime.

Shahid Bhaila said that he himself went to the SITE fire station, where he was told that water in there was no water in their reserves and it has been called off from Sakhi Hassan station.

Chief of the tribunal Justice retired Qurban Alvi was recording the statement.

Replying to a question of Justice Alvi, Shahid Bhaila said that his factory’s human resource was outsourced to contractors so he was not aware if salaries were being given to the labourers on that day.

The brothers told the tribunal that their factory had an international certificate which said that their factory abided all the international standards to operate.