Islamabad – A 2012 blaze that destroyed a Pakistani factory complex, killing about 260 labourers, was arson, ruled a court on Tuesday as it handed death sentences to two culprits who set the fire after the owners refused to pay for protection.
The Sept. 11, 2012, fire gutted the multi-storey compound. It was the worst industrial accident in Pakistani history.
The anti-terrorism court in Karachi also announced jail terms for four people for facilitating the plans of the main culprits, prosecutor Abid Zaman said.
It took courts eight years to complete one of the country’s most high-profile trials, which involved testimony by 400 witnesses.
Pakistani agencies had arrested the main suspects, from Saudi Arabia and Thailand, with help from Interpol in 2016.
They told investigators the factory was burnt after the owner had refused to pay extortion money to a criminal gang allegedly supported by a political party that dominated Karachi at the time.
Crimes like murders, arsons, kidnapping for ransom and extortion were once common in Karachi, a metropolis of 20 million inhabitants.