Pak: Malik sees terror angle in twin factory fires

Pakistan`s interior minister Rehman Malik said, "Fires on the same day at two factories in Karachi and Lahore could be an act of terrorism."

Karachi: Pakistan`s interior minister Rehman Malik on Sunday gave a new twist to the country`s worst industrial disaster, saying an act of terrorism cannot be ruled out in the horrific incident that claimed over 250 lives.

Rejecting the preliminary report on the fire at the garments factory in Karachi`s Baldia town, Malik said investigators were probing the fire keeping the terror factor in mind and they were also examining some other aspects of the tragic incident.

Talking to the media during a visit to the factory site, the minister said there was evidence that the fire started because of a generator malfunction or short circuiting.

"Fires on the same day at two factories in Karachi and Lahore could be an act of terrorism," he added.

On the same day when the Karachi fire killed 258 people, 25 people were also killed at a fire in a shoe factory in Lahore.

Malik said the garments factory had caught fire twice in the past and yet the owners had made no safety arrangements. He said an insurance claim for a previous fire at the factory was also being investigated.

The interior minister warned the factory owners that they should co-operate with the investigations, failing which they would be dealt with strictly according to the law.

The owners, who have obtained preventive bail until September 21, also recorded their statements with the police at an unknown location yesterday.

The owners have promised to compensate the victims and affected families.
The provincial minister for industries, Rauf Siddiqui resigned after the incident.