Sep 22, 2020 18:35 UTC
  •  Pakistan court sentences two to death over 2012 Karachi garment factory fire

Two men have been sentenced to death for starting a fire at a garment factory that killed over 260 people in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi eighty years ago.

According to reports, the Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi on Tuesday ruled that the deadly industrial fire had been a case of arson and not an accident.

The court found Mohammad Zubair and Abdul Rehman guilty of arson, ruling that the pair intentionally set the factory ablaze after the owner refused to pay a bribe.

The judges also acquitted a provincial lawmaker and three others of any wrongdoing in the case.

Public prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Shiekh expressed his satisfaction with the judgment.

At least 260 people died in the 2012 disaster, which struck a ready-made garments factory in Karachi. Most of the victims died of suffocation, as people caught in the basement were unable to escape when it was filled with smoke.

In July, an investigative report said the fire was not an accident but a “planned sabotage.” 

The probe also highlighted a lack of emergency exits, poor safety training for workers, and the failure of government inspectors as contributing to the high death toll.

The tragedy sent shockwaves through the country as survivors told stories of people trapped in the factory because the building’s doors were locked.