The Sindh High Court (SHC) said on Monday that it may take notice if it found that an appeal against the acquittal of the co-accused in the Baldia factory fire case should have been filed and that “so-called influential accused are being deliberately and intentionally shielded by the state”.
Headed by Justice Muhammad Karim Khan Agha, a two-judge bench made these observations while hearing the appeals filed by two convicts, Abdul Rehman alias Bhola and Zubair alias Charya, against their conviction.
On September 11, 2012, more than 260 workers were burnt alive in the multi-storey building of the Ali Enterprises garment factory in BaldiaTown in what was the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.
During Monday’s proceedings, Advocate Yasin Azad, appearing for appellant Zubair alias Charya, sought time to go through the paper book of the case and advance arguments.
However, he argued that Charya was a minor accused in the case, and that the main accused had been acquitted by the trial court and the state had not filed an appeal against their acquittals.
To a query by the court, a special public prosecutor appearing for Sindh Rangers, Rana Khalid, requested for time to seek instructions as to whether an appeal against the acquittals would be filed or not.
The bench allowed him time with a direction to file a compliance report in this regard before the court by the next date.
However, the judges made it clear that: “This court, after going through [the] evidence, might itself take notice, if we consider that the appeal against the acquittal ought to have been filed, and so-called influential accused are being deliberately and intentionally shielded by the state.” The hearing was adjourned for a date to be notified later.