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Karachi

November 14, 2017

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ATC accepts Rangers’ request, summons Rauf Siddiqui at next hearing

ATC accepts Rangers’ request, summons Rauf Siddiqui at next hearing

The judge of the anti-terrorism court (ATC) hearing the Baldia factory fire case, on Monday, issued orders for the senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P) leader, Rauf Siddiqui, to appear in court on November 28.

The court’s directives came after a Rangers’ official requested the court to have him appear before the court to attend the hearing. Two detained co-accused in the case, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola and Zubair alias Charia, were produced before the court. However, attorneys of the two accused prayed to the court to not continue with the hearings unless the key accused, Hammad Siddiqui, currently detained in Dubai, was produced before the court.

The Investigation Officer (IO) assured the court that as soon as Siddiqui is brought to Pakistan, he would be produced before the court without any delay. Earlier, the court while hearing arguments on the bail plea of Rehman observed that it would hear further arguments on the plea on November 28.

Rehman alias Bhola is said to have recorded his confessional statement alleging that the then in-charge of MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee Hammad Siddiqui, then minister for commerce and industry, Rauf Siddiqui, and other senior leaders of the party were involved in the incident.

They were accused of having demanded the factory owners to pay a huge amount as extortion money, and the factory was set on fire after they refused to do so. Over 259 workers of a garment factory, Ali Enterprises, were burnt to death while scores were injured after a fire erupted inside the manufacturing unit. The incident has been declared the deadliest industrial accident to have occurred in Pakistan’s history.

In his statement before a judicial magistrate, Bhola said that he along with another MQM member, Asgher Baig, Zubair alias Charia and other accomplices had set the factory on fire.

LeJ terrorists escape case

The ATC hearing the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorists’ escape case issued non-bailable warrants of arrest against an absconding female jail official and five others.

The court ordered for them to be arrested and produced on December 21. The absconding jail officials have been identified as Sherbano, Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz, Muhammad Ahmed Khan, Azharuddin, Zubair Ayub and Bilawal Hussain.

The court also directed the IO to submit a complete report of the case’s development at the next hearing.

Several former prison officials including Naveed Ahmed Khan, Salik Ayaz, Muhammad Rafique, Nadir Hussain, Nawab Ali, Saeed Ahmed, Atta Muhammad and Muhammad Sajjad were present in the hearing.

However, the court noted the absence of two detained accused, then central prison superintendent and deputy superintendent Ghulam Murtaza Shaikh and Abdul Rehman Shaikh respectively; they were also ordered to be produced at the next hearing.

It is alleged that the accused prison officials had helped two high-profile LeJ terrorists, Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz aka Firoun and Ahmed Khan alias Munna, to escape from the central jail, in June this year. The two were facing charges of murder of at least 60 people.

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