A deadly factory fire in Karachi has prompted Pakistani officials to open a murder investigation into factory owners and government workers who failed to enforce proper safety regulations. The fire ripped through Ali Enterprises clothing factory Tuesday night as nearly 600 people worked. Over 250 people died and at least 25 people were wounded. Workers trapped in the upper levels escaped by jumping out of windows while others trapped in the basement waited for firefighters to free them.
Authorities say the murder case was opened because emergency exit doors were locked. According to Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Union Federation, only one exit was opened at the time of the fire.
"At Ali Enterprises there was only one exit point for more than 500 workers at the time of the emergency, all the windows had iron grills and doorways and stairs were stuffed with finished merchandise," Mansoor said.
Local police leader Mohammad Nawaz Gondal said owners Abdul Aziz, Mohammad Arshad and Shahid Bhaila, as well as several factory managers and government officials, are under investigation for "showing utter negligence to provide adequate security to the factory workers." Investigators will present evidence to prosecutors and the prosecutors will decide if charges will be filed.
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