KARACHI: A local court granted five-day physical remand of factory owner and seven employees for their alleged involvement in a deadly stampede that occurred in the SITE Area.
The incident resulted in the death of around 11 people and several others were injured. The suspects, including Abdul Khaliq, Ali Muhammad Younus, Khursheed Ahmed, Sajid Ali, Ghufran Ali, Azhar Mahmood, Ali Ahmed, and Hussainzada, were charged with manslaughter and negligence.
During the hearing, the investigating officer stated that the factory owner had distributed Zakat without informing the police or the civil administration, resulting in a large crowd of people gathering inside and outside the factory to receive cash handouts. The incident occurred when the doors were opened by the company staff, which caused the people to force entry, leading to the stampede.
The IO requested the suspects’ physical remand in police custody for interrogation to complete the investigation.
However, the suspects’ lawyer argued that his clients had been falsely implicated in the case as there was no evidence to support the allegations against them. The state prosecutor opposed the plea, stating that the suspects’ actions resulted in the loss of numerous lives, so they cannot be discharged from the case.
The magistrate dismissed the application, granting five-day police remand of the suspects, with the direction to the IO to produce them on the next date of hearing with the investigation report. A first information report (FIR) had been registered against the suspects under the Pakistan Penal Code. Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Iqbal Memon announced the formulation of a policy for the regularisation of ration distribution campaigns to prevent stampedes.
He requested all philanthropists to take the city or district administration along with law enforcement agencies into confidence before conducting such drives. In the past, such food giveaway drives have turned rowdy and dangerous, leading to tragedies like the current one and the 2009 stampede that claimed 18 women and a girl’s lives.