Pakistan: Court registers murder case against owners of garment factory destroyed in fire which left over 250 dead - includes statement by owners

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24 September 2012

Karachi fire factory owners recorded their statements to the tribunal [Pakistan]

Author: Dawn [Pakistan]

…Police in Karachi…registered a murder case against the owners of a garment factory. At least 258 workers perished in the horrific fire that destroyed the garment factory in Karachi…industrial tragedy that prompted calls for an overhaul of poor safety standards…The owners said that the doors of the factory were not closed…despite many calls to the fire department, the fire fighters reached the factory after an hour of the incident…Shahid Bhaila said that his factory’s human resource was outsourced to contractors so he was not aware if salaries were being given to the labourers on that day. The brothers told the tribunal that their factory had an international certificate which said that their factory abided all the international standards to operate.

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19 September 2012

Inspectors Certified Pakistani Factory as Safe Before Disaster [Pakistan]

Author: Declan Walshh & Steven Greenhouse, New York Times

…[T]wo inspectors who visited the factory, Ali Enterprises in Karachi, to examine working conditions gave it a prestigious SA8000 certification, meaning it had met international standards in nine areas, including health and safety, child labor and minimum wages. The two inspectors were working on behalf of Social Accountability International…Weeks later, a fire swept the plant…trapping hundreds of workers in a building with barred windows and just one open exit…some workers were forced to leap from upper-floor windows, suffering serious injuries; many more died of smoke inhalation and from searing temperatures inside the building...Social Accountability International said it had suspended work in Pakistan with the RINA Group, an Italian company that carried out the Ali Enterprises audit on its behalf…so far just one of its Western customers has come forward publicly…KiK…a company spokeswoman told European labor rights activists that it had obtained three independent audits of Ali Enterprises…KiK said it had started a relief fund for the families of the dead and injured.

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