‘‘If they have died, the casualties are much higher than reported,’’ said Rehana Yasmin from the union.
Two of the owners of Ali Enterprises, which owned the factory, are in a Karachi prison awaiting trial on murder charges for allegedly telling guards to lock the doors after the fire started to prevent theft. A third owner was allowed to stay out of jail because of poor health. Police have also arrested the factory’s general manager and three private security guards on murder charges for carrying out the orders to lock the doors.
The Federal Investigation Agency, one of the country’s highest law enforcement agencies, was tasked with investigating the fire and recently submitted a report blaming the owners and relevant government departments for not following safety and labor laws.
The second floor, where most of the casualties were reported, was not even in the approved map of the factory, the FIA found. Water hydrants did not work, and workers had not been given rescue training by the city’s civil defense department, the FIA found. The factory was not registered with the provincial labor department, in violation of the country’s labor laws.