KARACHI - A police investigator probing one of the most tragic fires at a garment factory on Saturday told a court that the deaths of 260 workers was the result of criminal negligence of the owners.
The garment factory located in Baldia town was completely gutted after a fire erupted on September 6 and workers inside could not come out because of the closed gates. However, a few workers managed to escape by jumping from the second floor of the factory. The police officer further told the court that witnesses’ accounts said that three exit doors of the factory were locked permanently whereas the fourth one was closed down soon after the fire erupted and the owners ordered its closure. Faisal Siddique, the lawyer of the victims, also told the judge that owners Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila ordered their manager, Mansour Ahmad, to close the doors of all the departments after the fire broke out. The defence lawyer told the judge that his clients were ready to face prosecution and they were willing to pay compensation to the families of the victims.
Additional session judge Abdullah Channah remarked that the offer of the owner could be considered under Islami law. Under Islamic jurisprudence blood money could be paid by the accused to the families of the victim as compensation. The court also remarked that there was another crucial aspect of the case that related to the ‘missing persons’. Some 39 unidentified bodies were lying in the mortuaries and the results of DNA tests were awaited but still there were more than 40 people who were missing and whose bodies had not been found, complicating an already complex case. The court reserved its judgement on granting bail to the owners.
Meanwhile, the Joint Committee of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) and ICMAP is organizing the 12th Best Corporate and Sustainability Reports Award Ceremony on Monday at local hotel, Karachi. Chairman SECP, Mr. Muhammad Ali is the Chief Guest on the Occasion and Mr. Muhammad Rafi President SAFA, Mr. M. Abdul Aleem Secretary General Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Nadeem Mustafa Khan CEO, Agha Khan University, and Mr. Hasan A. Bilgrami CEO Bank Islami Pakistan Limited will grace as Guests of Honour. The event is organized each year to encourage and give recognition to excellence in annual corporate reports. It seeks to promote corporate accountability and transparency through the publication of timely, informative, factual and reader friendly annual reports.
The criteria for Best Corporate Report award is placed on the websites of both Institutes.