2 MQM workers sentenced to death in Baldia factory fire case

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KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday handed death sentences to two MQM workers, Abdul Rahman ‘Bhola’ and Zubair ‘Charya’, for their involvement in the deaths of over 260 labourers in the 2012 Baldia factory arson incident.

MQM leader Rauf Siddiqui, who had been accused of being involved in the incident, was, however, acquitted by the court for want of evidence, along with Umar Hasan Qadri, Dr Abdul Sattar Khan and Iqbal Adeeb Khanum.

Four others — Shahrukh, Fazal Ahmed, Arshad Mehmood and Ali Mohammad — were handed life sentences for facilitating the crime.

The highly-anticipated decision, almost eight years in the making, was announced today by the anti-terrorism court.

One key suspect, the then in-charge of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzimi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, remains absconding. The prosecution had argued in the case that he was the brains behind the extortion and the arson act.

The special public prosecutor had earlier this month said a decision had been reserved on September 2 after arguments from various parties were completed, with the case pending in various courts for almost eight years.

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