KARACHI – The joint investigation team (JIT) on Saturday gave clean chit to former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Anees Qaimkhani in Baldia factory fire case by excluding his name in the fresh investigation report presented in the court.
According to a report submitted by the investigation team before the trial court, some members of the MQM including Hammad Siddiqui, Farooq Saleem and six others were allegedly suspects behind the country’s deadliest fire. The JIT report says that Baldia factory fire was planned by extortionists.
Over 250 workers perished inside the locked premises of Ali Enterprises in Baldia on September 11, 2012. During the hearing, SP Sajid Amir Sudozai, who is the in-charge of the joint investigation team formed in March last year, informed the session judge Maqbool Memon that concerned authorities are still waiting for a response from the home department.
“The case may, with the consent of authorities, be re-registered under the anti-terrorism law since the elements of extortion and arson have been revealed during the course of inquiry,” the investigation officer argued. The court was further told that MQM’s former Karachi Tanzeemi Committee in-charge, Hammad Siddiqui has allegedly demanded Rs200 million from factory owners as protection money.
The investigation officer requested the court to register a new case in light of the fresh JIT report. The court ordered presentation of the previous JIT report. However, the investigation officer told the court that the report is with the Home Department. The officer further said that they are waiting for Home Department’s instructions over registration of a new case.
The court reprimanded the investigation officer for not arresting Mansoor Ahmed. “All of you are colluding in the case,” the judge said. The directed the investigation officer to submit a concrete reply regarding fate of the case by next hearing. The court adjourned the hearing till March 22 and reissued non-bailable arrest warrant for the fugitives.