KARACHI: In an unprecedented move, provincial Minister for Commerce and Industries Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM tendered his resignation on Friday, accepting the responsibility for the fire that claimed at least 300 lives in a garment factory in Karachi.
Though he was not directly involved in awarding the permit to the factory owner, Rauf admitted that being the minister, itwas his task to check the violations that caused the massive fire.
When asked who was responsible for the incident, he said it was criminal negligence on the part of the authorities concerned, including Civil Defence, Labour Ministry and SITE Association. But he was quick in saying that the real investigation should have been conducted when this factory was given the licence.
Forwarding his resignation to Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, he said that he wanted an independent and transparent inquiry into the incident.The resignation was submitted following directives from the party’s high command to set an example. Obviously, Siddiqui said, labour laws were violated and caused such a dreadful incident. He said all authorities concerned should be made accountable.
He presented himself for accountability, saying that it was a ghastly incident that had shaken his conscience. The MQM leader said that the ministry was nothing for him if the people who elevated him to the post were not safe.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain applauded him for resigning from the ministerial slot. Talking to Siddiqui on phone from London, Altaf said that he (Siddiqui) had fulfilled his moral responsibility by tendering his resignation and set an example in the political history of the country. “The nation is proud of your bold decision,” the MQM chief said. The MQM Coordination Committee also praised Rauf Siddiqui for resigning.