KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday resumed hearing a petition filed by family members of Baldia factory fire victims who had moved the court against non-payment of Rs560 million in monetary compensation.
Some 260 people were killed in a blaze which was started deliberately at the Ali Enterprises factory in Karachi’s Baldia Town on September 11, 2012, in one of the country’s worst industrial disasters.
Nine accused — including Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker and then provincial minister for commerce and industries Rauf Siddiqui, then MQM sector in-charge Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, and Zubair alias Chariya — were charged with allegedly setting the factory on fire with the help of their four gatekeepers — Shahrukh, Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad.
According to the prosecution, they had acted on the instruction of the then head of MQM Karachi Tanzeemi Committee Hammad Siddiqui after the factory owners failed to pay extortion money.
The victims’ families, in their petition, argued that the provincial law officer did not file comments with regard to the statement of labour minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah on May 1, 2018 on the distribution of Rs560 million among the legal heirs of the victims.
The Sindh government, in its written reply submitted to the court today, stated that the distribution of Rs560 million among the victims’ families was only a newspaper announcement, at which the court remarked that there seemed to be no hope for the victims’ families to receive any compensation.
The court directed the petitioners to submit their reply on February 28.