KARACHI: The key suspect behind Pakistan's deadliest industrial fire has confessed that he acted on the orders of a Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader, sources told Geo News on Friday.
Making the admission before an investigation team, the main accused Abdul Rahman alias Bhola said he deliberately set ablaze the Ali Enterprise factory in September 2012 on the instructions of MQM leader Hammad Siddiqui, killing at least 259 workers at the garment factory in Karachi's Baldia Town area.
Bhola revealed that the MQM leader gave him the instruction to set fire to the factory in the vicinity of Baldia Town Karachi due to non-payment of Rs 250 million Bhatta (extortion money).
He claimed that the intent behind the arson attack was only to intimidate owners of the Ali Enterprise, he didn’t anticipate that his act would result in the loss of lives.
Rahman was arrested in Bangkok by Interpol, About 40 commandos raided a room at the Royal Garden Home Hotel in Soi Nana yesterday evening and arrested Abdul Rehman alias Bhola, 46, who was staying alone in the room. The Federal Investigation Agency brought Abdul Rahman alias Bhola to Karachi from Bangkok on Tuesday.
A two-member FIA went to Thailand on Sunday to get custody of Abdul Rahman. After reaching Thailand the team requested access to Bhola, who was under treatment at a hospital of Bangkok prison for having kidney problems.
The FIA had constituted a two-member team comprising Deputy Director Badar Baloch and Inspector Rehmatullah Domki for Bhola's extradition to Pakistan, sources had informed. The team arrived in Thailand along with documents and legal records pertaining to the Baldia factory tragedy, for taking custody of Rahman alias Bhola.
Earlier in his initial statement to the Interpol in Bangkok, Bhola had maintained himself as a 'political worker affiliated with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement,' sources within the Federal Investigation Agency had told Geo News. Bhola was on the run since four years.
He was rounded up from Bangkok by the Interpol on December 03, upon the request of Pakistani authorities.
Tracing Rahman alias Bhola's trail from Karachi to Bangkok
Abdul Rahman alias Bhola arrested in Bangkok by Interpol was an illegal immigrant, Geo News had learned. Abdul Rahman traveled to Bangkok from Malaysia aided by human smugglers.
Forty-seven-year old Abdur Rahman made his first passport in 2009 on which he traveled to Dubai. Immediately after the Baldia Factory fire incident, Rahman got a residence visa for Dubai. In June 2014, a new passport was issued from Dubai. This passport is valid till January 2019.
PSP, MQM-Pakistan deny links to Rahman
Pak Sar Zameen Party and MQM Pakistan in separate statements had refuted allegations that Rahman was once associated with their parties.
MQM-P leader Rauf Siddiqui speaking to journalists in Karachi said that he could neither accept nor deny that Rahman was associated to MQM.
Whereas, PSP Chief Mustafa Kamal, speaking to journalists in Lahore said that Rahman was not a member of his party. "He was arrested from outside Pakistan. He was never part of PSP," he said.
Video message of another key suspect surfaces
Yusuf alias Gadhagari, in a video message, claimed that Baldia sector’s target killer Asghar Baig was behind setting fire to the ill-fated factory.
Bhola sat in a relief camp outside the factory for several days after the Baldia tragedy, said Yusuf, who belonged to MQM’s Baldia sector.
During the investigation, Yusuf confessed to target killing political workers, and attacks on police personnel.