Mutahid Qaumi Movement is behind the deadly fire at Bladia Town Factory, in which 258 factory workers were burnt alive, revealed Joint Investigation Team Report.
In the report submitted to Sindh High Court, Advocate General Sindh Rangers, Major Ashfaque Ahmed, claimed that they had arrested a MQM Terrorist, Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi, in connection to the industrial fire.
During the interrogation, the accused claimed that a well-known party leaders of MQM Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui and Farooq Saleem, had demanded Rs20 Million in extortion via his front man from the owners of Ali Enterprises in August 2012.
Following this, the owner met the party’s Baldia Town sector in-charge, Asghar Baig, and told him that someone was using the party’s name to extort money. Baig spoke to his brother, Majid, and they took the factory owners to the MQM’s headquarters in Azizabad, Nine Zero. They had arranged a meeting with the in-charge of the Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui and Farooq Saleem, and told them that the factory owners were party supporters. They also told Hammad and Saleem about the extortion threats.
According to the report, Hammad and Saleem, claimed that the issue was not due to their demand. The suspect told the JIT that the response of the Karachi Tanzeemi Committee’s in-charge upset Baig and his brother who exchanged harsh words with Hammad and Saleem.
A few days later, according to Rizwan, Hammad suspended Baig from his position and replaced him with Rehman Bhola. The report claims that Hammad and Saleem sent Bhola to collect extortion money from the owners of Ali Enterprises on orders from a party official and former minister.
"Rehman Bhola demanded Rs20 Million as extortion from the factory owners," stated the report. "When they refused on 11th September, 2012, he (Bhola) and his accomplices threw a chemical substance that started the fire at the factory." The report claimed that the next day, the Crime Investigation Department raided Baig and Majid’s house and left with Majid in their custody.
Baig’s brother was released after the police recorded statements of the factory owners claiming that he was not involved in the incident.
Quoting the accused, the JIT report stated that after receiving orders from a high official in the party, then Sindh Industries Minister, Rauf Siddiqui, went to the police station and registered a case against the factory owners. They had arranged for bail before arrest from the SHC but the Rauf Siddiqui used his connections to get their bail cancelled.
It was then that a Former Prime Minister stepped in to help the owners and got them a bail from the Lahore High Court instead. MQM leaders claimed, however, that the premier should not intervene in a provincial matter.
The report added that he (Bhola) and an unidentified member of the party took Rs1.5 Million to dispose of the case. The accused told the JIT that the information he had shared with them, he had received from the former sector in-charge of Baldia Town.