Baldia Town fire: Hammad Siddiqui’s revelations likely to put MQM, PSP in trouble


Former MQM leader says four government officials involved in incident

KARACHI: Shocking revelations made by the former office bearer of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Hammad Siddiqui, regarding the May 12 and Baldia Town factory fire incident, are likely to put MQM-Pakistan and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) in hot waters, as some of the members of those parties are also suspected of involvement in the incidents.

INP reported that Hammad had provided some crucial evidence regarding both the tragic incidents and the disclosures were likely to put both parties in trouble. Siddiqui was arrested in Dubai on last Friday. However, his party membership was suspended in 2013 for violating discipline, following which Siddiqui had moved to UAE.

The ex-MQM official has a number of cases registered against him, including the high profile Baldia factory fire case and Imran Farooq murder case. In 2016, an anti-terrorism court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for accused Siddiqui in the factory case.

Meanwhile, a former leader of MQM, Salman Mujahid Baloch, wrote a letter to Sindh Rangers director general Sindh, accusing four government officers of facilitating the prime suspect in the Baldia fire tragedy.

Baloch, who was recently thrown out of Farooq Sattar-led-MQM Pakistan, maintained that at least four officers stationed in Baldia Town, namely Akmal Siddiqui, Mirza Asif Baig, Ameer Ali Qadri and Shahnawaz Bhatti facilitated the culprits in carrying out the crime.

“As the main culprits of this case are in legal custody, but some government officers who facilitated them in this crime are still at large. When the tragedy occurred, these officers were in contact with MQM’s Baldia Town Sector chief Rehman Bhola and used their position to help the accused in the case,” the letter stated.

Nearly 250 people burnt to death after a horrific blaze erupted in the factory in September 2012. Following which, the government formed a JIT to thoroughly investigate the matter, which had disclosed that “the fire that engulfed Baldia factory was an outcome of a pre-planned scheme and that it was no accident,” and “The factory was set ablaze over non-payment of extortion money.”

JIT report stated that MQM sector in-charge Rehman alias Bhola and Hammad Siddiqui had demanded Rs 200 million extortion from owners of the factory. On November 28 during the hearing of the case, an anti-terrorism court grilled authorities for not being able to arrest Hammad Siddiqui and Rehman alias Bhola, the other two suspects of the case. The court had ordered the interior ministry to arrest fugitives with the help of Interpol.