Rauf Siddiqui ten others indicted in Baldia factory fire case

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: An Anti terrorism Court in Karachi indicted Rauf Siddiqui, former minister of MQM and ten others in Baldia factory fire case here on Wednesday.

The proceeding of the case occurred in the central jail where the central accused Abdul Rehman Aka Bhola and Zubair Aka Charia were presented. Rauf Siddiqui also appeared before the court.

The police presented Challan in which Siddiqui and ten others were accused of setting the factory afire. All accused pleaded not guilty.

Last month the court had ordered that former minister and leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Rauf Siddiqui, shall be made a part of the investigation regarding the deadly 2012 Baldia Factory fire. Acting upon Rangers prosecutor’s petition, the court also ordered to include Siddiqui in suspects of the Baldia factory fire.

According to the case’s supplementary charge sheet, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, who was arrested in Bangkok through Interpol and brought back to Pakistan, during interrogation as well as before a magistrate, disclosed that he along with Zubair alias Charya, and others set the factory ablaze on the instruction of then chief of the MQM organising committee Hammad Siddiqui after the factory owners had refused to pay the demanded protection money and “partnership” in the factory.

The suspect also said that after the incident Rauf Siddiqui allegedly got a case registered against the owners of the industrial unit and then the suspect said that he came to know that Rauf and Hammad received Rs40-50 million from the owners to tone down the case against them.

Terrorism and target killing was carried out in the city as part of the policy of the Altaf-led Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), revealed Abdul Rehman aka Bhola in his statement read out before the Sindh High Court here in November last year.

In the statement Bhola has confessed to several murders of the workers of ruling Pakistan People’s Party and Sunni Tehreek.

All murders were executed in accordance to the party police and the orders would be passed on to killers by Hammad Siddiqui, head of the Karachi Tanzeemi committee.

Regarding the Baldia factory fire, Bhola said that Hammad Siddiqui had given him important task of collecting extortion money from Ali Enterprises. “For this special task, I was made sector In-charge of Baldia and asked to demand Rs250million extortion. On September 11, 2012 Zubair aka Charia told that arrangements have been made for setting the factory afire,” Bhola told.

“Zubair Charia reached the factory in a Suzuki high roof pickup alongwith his accomplices and after 20 minutes informed that the work has been done,” he further revealed, informing that Hammad Siddiqui was informed about the fire in advance after which he asked the MQM MNAs, MPAS and workers to reach the spot.

According to Bhola Rauf Siddiqui played a role in lodging FIR against the owners so that MQM may not be accused. After the hearing the court rejected the bail please of absconding accused. Atleast 258 people were killed in the worst factory fire of the country.

Nearly 250 people burnt to death after a horrific blaze erupted in the factory in September 2012. The government formed a JIT to thoroughly investigate the matter, which had later made startling revelations.

The JIT stated that then In-charge of MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) Hammad Siddiqui had ordered Rahman alias Bhola and others to set the factory on fire.

On November 28 during the hearing of the case, an anti-terrorism court grilled authorities for not being able to arrest Hammad Siddiqui and Rehman alias Bhola, the other two suspects of the case. The court had ordered the interior ministry to arrest fugitives with the help of Interpol.

A special team sent to Dubai to arrest Hammad Siddiqui – the notorious Karachi Tanzeemi Committee Chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement –, credible sources informed the Frontier Post last week.“The former KTC chief has been arrested in Dubai by a special team,” an official told this scribe.

“Hammad will be brought back to Pakistan soon after which he will be presented before the ATC for physical remand,” the official added. The notorious terrorists belonging to Muttahida Qaumi Movement has ordered to kill hundreds of people besides issuing directives to set the Baldia factory afire, the official added.

Sources further told that if Siddiqui made revelations, many in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen party may land in trouble. Siddiqui had been enjoying close ties with PSP President Anees Qaimkhani and several leaders of the Dr Farooq Sattar led MQM-P

Last in December, the Sindh government had constituted a Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) for interrogating Abdul Rehman alias Bhola – the prime accused of Baldia Factory Fire Case.

At least 258 poor laborers were burnt alive when allegedly men associated with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) set ablaze the garment factory for non-payment for extortion money in 2012.

“On the recommendation of Inspector General of Police Sindh, a joint interrogation team (JIT) is herby constituted for the purpose of interrogation in respect of arrested accused Abdul Rehman alias Bhola s/o Abdul Sattar, arrested in case FIR No.343/2012 of police station Site-B,” a notification issued here on Thursday reads, further informing that SSP Investigation West-1 Akhter Farooq will head the JIT, also comprising representatives of ISI, 202 Survey (MI), IB Sindh, Pakistan Rangers, Special Branch and Counter Terrorism Department.