KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday delayed announcing the verdict in the 2012 Baldia factory fire case to next week, shortly after a special public prosecutor had hinted that the ruling may be made public later today.
The highly-anticipated decision — almost eight years after a raging blaze swept through a garment facility in Pakistan's financial capital, killing over 260 people — would now be announced on September 22, the court said during a hearing.
Among those presented at the hearing were MQM leader Rauf Siddiqui, who is out on bail, and Dr Abdul Sattar — the adopted son of PSP's Anees Qaimkhani who is accused in the case.
The special public prosecutor had earlier said a decision had been reserved back on September 2 after arguments from various parties were completed, with the case pending in various courts for almost eight years.
'Bhola' confessed before judicial magistrate
Throughout the hearings, the statements of some 400 witnesses were recorded, with the factory owners presenting theirs via video link from Dubai.
Former MQM sector in-charges Abdul Rahman, alias Bhola, and Zubair, alias Charya, have been arrested in the case, while party leader Rauf Siddiqui is out on bail.
Bhola was arrested back in December 2016 from Bangkok with the help of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol. He had confessed to the crime before a judicial magistrate.
Eight years ago, flames raced through a garment factory in the teeming commercial capital of Karachi as many people lined up to collect their paycheques, officials had said at the time.
The fire had initially been reported to have been caused by a short circuit.