Baldia City photo file. PHOTO: FILE
KARACHI: The anti-terrorism court (ATC) which was directed on Saturday accused Zubair Charya’s legal counsel of presenting the final argument in the Baldia factory fire case at the next hearing on June 17.
The directives were issued as accused adviser to the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Rauf Siddiqui and the public prosecutor specifically finalized their argument, with the latter praying for a court to sentence Siddiqui during a hearing on Saturday in Central Prison, Karachi.
At trial, Siddiqui’s legal counsel stated that his client, who had been the provincial minister for trade and industry when the incident occurred, had resigned three days after the fire broke out. The adviser also claimed that the statement of the factory owner and another accused, Rehman Bhola, “was based on rumors.”
However, opposing the claim, special prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Shaikh stated that the case against the factory owner was actually registered at the urging of Siddiqui, who later accused Bhola of being arrested and making a confession during interrogation.
He alleged that Rauf had colluded with Hammad Siddiqui, another suspect in the case, and put pressure on the factory owner to resolve the problem with the victims’ families out of court, receiving millions in return for mediating the settlement.
“One of the factory owners, Arshad Bhaila, in his statement, also informed Siddiqui’s involvement in the crime,” added the special prosecutor general, and moved the court to punish Siddiqui given the available evidence.
However, the court adjourned the hearing until June 17, directing lawyer Zubair Charya to submit a final argument at the next hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2020.