A new government investigation into a 2012 factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan, blames arson connected to an extortion plot for the tragedy that killed 258 workers.
The report, signed by officials of various law enforcement agencies, charges police who originally investigated the fire were subject to outside political pressure that influenced their conclusions, local media report.
On Sept. 12, 2012, fire broke out in chemicals stored at Ali Enterprises, a garment factory located in Karachi’s Baldia Town borough. More than 300 workers were trapped inside in what is considered Pakistan’s worst industrial disaster.
Officials reported that all but one exit had been locked and most of the windows were barred. Workers jumped from the roof of the four-story building trying to save their lives.
The 27-page report alleges that the fire was an arson attack triggered by the refusal to pay Rs200 million in an extortion scheme. The original investigation made no mention of extortion.