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Rauf Siddiqui exempted from Baldia factory arson case hearing

By Our Correspondent
April 06, 2018

Housed inside the central prison, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday granted the plea of former home minister, Member Provincial Assembly and senior Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Rauf Siddiqui to exempt him from appearing in the hearing for the Baldia Town garment factory arson case, and adjourned the hearing until April 12.

Rauf Siddiqui himself was not present in court and an application on his behalf was moved by his attorney. The court also recorded the statement of the medico-legal officer of the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, ordering that other doctors be produced before the court as witnesses as well as summoning relevant medical reports on April 12.

Two hundred and fifty-nine workers were burnt alive while many others injured on September 11, 2012, when the Ali Enterprises garment factory was set ablaze over non-payment of extortion.

Accused Abdul Rehman, alias Bhola, and co-accused Zubair, alias Charya, the then head of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, and others are being tried in the case.

NICL case

An accountability court adjourned the hearing of the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) corruption case until April 28. Former NICL chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi, Amin Qasim Dada and other accused were present in court.

However, the investigating officer could not reach the court on time, over which the judge expressed his displeasure and censured the IO after he finally showed up. The court directed him to appear with prosecution witnesses in the next hearing.

Thirteen accused, including Ayaz Khan Niazi, Amin Qasim Dada and Naveed Hussain Zaidi, are being tried in the corruption case. Niazi is accused of selling a government plot at a throwaway price that caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

The same land was earlier purchased in the name of the NICL against a huge sum of money. He is accused of massive embezzlement of NICL funds in the purchase of 10 acres of land in Korangi.

Niazi and others are also believed to have sold the land at the Lahore Airport Road measuring 20 kanal to Mohsin Warraich for Rs1.7 billion. The land was sold at of Rs5.3 million per kanal, although its market value was much higher. As many as five NICL corruption cases were lodged against the accused. Four of them were transferred to accountability courts in Lahore and one in Karachi.