Home News Baldia Factory Fire: Culprits still at large after 9-years

Baldia Factory Fire: Culprits still at large after 9-years

Baldia Factory Fire: Culprits still at large after 9-years

Heirs of the martyrs of Baldia factory are still running from the pillar to post to get justice.

Karachi: Nine years have passed to the fire at Ali Enterprises factory in Baldia Town Karachi but the real culprits are still at large, the bereaved families and workers lamented during a memorial on Saturday the September 11, 2021 held to observe the anniversary of the worst industrial mishap in the history of Pakistan in which 260 workers had lost their lives.

The memorial gathering was organized jointly by National Trade Union Federation (NTUF), Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association and Home-based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), led by Saeeda Khatoon.

The speakers said that as there had been no proper safety arrangements at the Ali Enterprises, 260 innocent workers burned alive and more than 100 others got injured. To give this incident the color of terrorism, some vested interests tried to hide the widespread lawlessness and anti-workers atmosphere in our factories and workplaces but these matters could not be swept under carpet.

Baldia-Factory-FireThey said the incidents like Baldia and Mehran Town factory fires and mishaps in Lakhra and Balochistan coalmines show that the murder of workers in industrial mishaps could only be stopped when the negligent factory owners, officers of labor and building control authority and fire brigade and social security departments are taken to the task. They said that the incident of the Baldia factory fire would continue to remind the law enforcing officials and elected representatives of political parties to dole out justice to the bereaved families.

The speakers said that it was sad that the owners of the Baldia factory were termed innocent and moreover the German courts also failed to make accountable the German brand. They said today it could be said that the ILO conventions, GSP-plus agreement with European Union, accords with international brands and other voluntarily agreements have failed to give protection to the workers. They said that it has become necessary that such international laws should be enacted that make bound the international companies, brands and governments to ensure safety at workplaces.

They said in this regard recent lawmaking in Germany and an international accord are the good omens. They said that in this 21st century the Pakistani workers are still demanding the rights that were given to the workers in the 19th century by the imperialists’ rulers under their colonial system. During last 70 years the number of labor unions in Pakistan has decreased from 30percent to just one percent. The labor inspection department has been put on the back burner. Less than 5percent factories pay their workers the minimum wages as announced by the government. The same situation is seen in the areas of pension and social security.

They reminded that the government of Sindh had announced to observe the day of September 11, as the health and safety day, but since last two years this day is simply not being observed. The same government in 2017 had passed a Sindh workers safety and health Act, but it is yet to be implemented.

They said that the heirs of the martyrs of Baldia factory are still running from the pillar to post to get justice. Despite the clear instructions of the Sindh High Court, the EOBI has stopped the pension of the parents of the heirs without any prior information and due to this, these ages people are facing many hardships. At least 13 of them have already died due financial and medical problems.

They added that it is heartening that the labor organizations of Pakistan in their countrywide meeting have decided to wage a struggle from a joint platform for safeguarding the rights of workers and today they are present in this gathering to express solidarity. They said as a result of the struggle of the international workers movement, they have agreed upon an international accord in which the Brands and Companies are made bound to give workers their rights including the right of making labor unions, and ensure safety and health standards at workplaces.

They further said that it is heartening that under this accord a proper monitoring system is made its part to check the violations and it would benefit the affected workers. They said that we will try that this accord is also implemented in Pakistan in its letter and spirit.

On the occasion of the ninth anniversary of the Baldia factory fire incident, they speakers demanded that:

  1. A high-level judicial commission should be established to start a probe afresh into the Baldia factory fire incident so that the responsibility could be fixed and solid steps be taken to stop the blatant violation of laws in industrial sector.
  2. The stopped EOBI pension to the parents of the martyred workers of Baldia factory fire should be restored.
  3. The stopped Sessi pension the widows, who have remarried, should be restored.
  4. A compensation of Rs2.5million each should be immediately paid to the heirs of Mehran Town factory fire, besides giving them pension.
  5. Strict implementation of Sindh workers safety and health Act should be ensured and such laws should also be passed in the other provinces.
  6. Factory inspection system should be revamped and annual inspection of every factory should be ensured.
  7. A monument should be erected in the memory of the martyrs of Baldia factory fire.
  8. The government of Sindh should provide the promised jobs and residential plots to the heirs of the martyred workers.
  9. A Pakistan Accord on the pattern of Bangladesh Accord should be inked to improve working conditions and working hours in Pakistani factories.
  10. The system of labor inspection should be modernized so that strict steps could be taken to ensure safety of workers in factories and workplaces.
  11. We demand from the elected representatives of Pakistan to raise voice against sacking of 16000 government employees due to a court decision and come with a joint strategy in Parliament so that the sacked employees could be restored and their families saved from an economic murder.

Those who spoke included Nasir Mansoor general secretary NTUF, Rafiq Baloch president NTUF, Zehra Khan general secretary HBWWF, Karamat Ali convenor National Labor Council, Habibuddin Junaidi president Peoples Labor Bureau, Comrade Gul Rehman of Workers Rights Movement, Saira Bano general secretary United Home-based Women Garment Workers Union, Aqib Hussain president Youth Committee, Khan Zaman of Balochistan Labor Federation, Qazi Khizar, Vice Chairperson HRCP, Niaz Khan of Progressive Labor Federation, Mian Qayoon of Labour Qaumi Movement, Taufiq Ahmed, Ali Ashraf Naqvi, former OSH inspector and joint director, Comrade Jannat and other and others.


Sindh Courier