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Five MQM men get life term for attacking police van

Three more activists remanded in Baldia factory fire case

By our correspondents
April 22, 2015
Five Muttahida Qaumi Movement activists were handed down life imprisonment by an anti-terrorism court on Tuesday after the prosecution provided sufficient evidence to prove that they had attacked a police van in 2013.
The five men, Irfan alias Unit In-charge, Farhan alias DSP, Shahabuddin, Faisal Naseer alias Kachu and Shiraz had fired gunshots at a police van in Korangi and injured the cops travelling in it.
They were arrested and found in possession of illegal arms.
Separately, another anti-terrorism court remanded three MQM activists, Majid Baig, Abdullah and Muhammad Mansoor, in Rangers custody for 90 days so that they could be interrogated in the case of the 2012 Baldia factory fire in which at least 258 people were killed.
The Baldia factory fire case had taken a drastic turn when Rangers submitted before the high court that a joint investigation team report revealed the MQM’s involvement in the blaze.
A detained suspect, Mohammad Rizwan Qureshi, had claimed that MQM activists were involved in setting the factory on fire.
He revealed that a “well-known party high official” had demanded Rs200 million through his front-man from Ali Enterprises, the owners of the ill-fated factory, in Aug 2012.
After the extortion demand, one of the factory owners met with the sector in-charge of Baldia Town, Asghar Baig, and informed him about it. The sector in-charge and his brother, Majid, took the factory owner to MQM headquarters, Nine-Zero, and brought the matter to the knowledge of Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) in-charge Hammad Siddiqui and Farooq Saleem.
He said Asghar Baig told Siddiqui and Saleem that the factory owners were party supporters and still being asked to pay extortion money.
The sector in-charge and his brother had an exchange of heated words with KTC office-bearers.
Siddiqui suspended the sector in-charge of Baldia Town, and replaced him with the joint sector in-charge, Rehman Bhola. The KTC office-bearers then ordered Bhola to collect Rs200 million as protection money from the factory owners. When the factory owners refused to pay, Bhola and his accomplices set the factory on fire by throwing chemical substances.
The CID raided the house of the suspended sector in-charge and arrested his brother Majid who was later released after the MQM pressured the factory owners to issue a statement that he was not involved in the incident.
A former MQM minister had a pre-arrest bail of the factory owners cancelled and a front-man of a party official took Rs150 million from the factory owners for the disposal of the case. Qureshi claimed that he had obtained this information from the former sector in-charge of Baldia Town.
According to another report, a suspected target killer, Umair Siddiqui, had also held the MQM responsible for the factory fire.