Saturday, February 2, 2013

Karachi Baldia factory fire – revengeful bias, elitist clout, or lawful justice?

On the one side are the victims’ families, Leftist groups, and NGOs, and the sympathizers of the victims of the Baldia factory fire, who demand that the owners of Baldia garment factory be tried for planned murder of the workers. Finally they have come to demand that the said factory be converted into a rehabilitation center for the victims’ families.

Looking for a way out? - SHC reserves order on Baldia factory owners’ bail plea

[The photo published in The News on January 29, 2013]

“Several NGOs had gone to court on Saturday (Jan 26) against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for his alleged interference. They also asked the court to order conversion of the factory into a rehabilitation centre for the victims’ families. The division bench headed by Justice Maqbool Baqir issued notices to the respondents to file their respective comments by February 14.”

[The Express Tribune, January 29, 2013]

And on the other side are the factory owners, industrialists, their organizations, and their allies, who have the following to demand:

KCCI demands withdrawal of charges

[The photo published in The Express Tribune on January 29, 2013]

KARACHI: In a bid to apply pressure on behalf of the owners of the Baldia Town factory, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has demanded that authorities withdraw the charges of planned murder that have been leveled against the owners. 

In a press statement issued on Monday (Jan 28), the KCCI said: “KCCI has been agitating against the application of Pakistan Penal Code 302 (premeditated murder) in an industrial accident case as KCCI believes no industrialists or businessmen would purposely destroy their own factory and murder their own workers,” said the statement.

The factory caught fire in September last year and 259 workers were killed. On December 29, 2012, the KCCI pushed the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to get charges of murder against the owners removed from the FIR. However, the prime minister merely instructed the chief secretary of Sindh to revisit the case along with the police and home department of Sindh. The supplementary challan was accordingly submitted in the court, which is currently possessed of the matter.

[The News, January 29, 2013]

The question is: how to proceed in this matter?

Let the both groups, so-called Pro-Baldia-factory-victims and Anti-Baldia-factory-victims, exert pressure to get what they demand, and whoever is stronger will win this tug-of-war!

Is that what’s the purpose of Law?

In case there exist a constitution, rule of law, and law-enforcing agencies, such as police, etc, and there are courts applying the law of the land and dispensing justice, should there be allowed to prevail a revengeful bias, or the elitist clout, or the matter be dealt with in accordance with the dictates of the lawful justice?

In a country like Pakistan, where law and justice do not take their course on their own, various pressure groups, influential personalities, elitist clout come in to play their games.

However, what the lawful course demands is an impartial investigation into all of the aspects of the case and then dispensing justice according to the dictates of the law!

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