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Karachi fire toll put at 259; murder case against managers

September 14, 2012 00:27 IST

Pakistan put the death toll from its worst industrial disaster to 259 as the government registered a case of murder against the owner and the manager of the Karachi factory that was gutted in a horrific blaze.

Until now only 177 of the dead bodies had been identified, including 23 women, and efforts are on to identify the other dead.

Sindh's health minister, Sagheer Ahmed, told the media that since the fire broke out and gutted the factory a total of 259 dead bodies had been recovered. The people had either died from suffocation, burns or because they tried to jump from windows to save their lives.

"We have managed to identify 177 bodies but for the remaining bodies we are taking DNA samples from anxious families and relatives whose loved ones or friends were working in the factory.

"Doctors are trying to match the DNA samples with the unidentified bodies to determine their identities," Ahmed said.

He said earlier the death toll had been put at 290, but later it was found that some bodies had been duplicated in the count at the hospitals where they were taken for storage.

He said a total of 236 men and 23 women had died in the tragic incident.

"The rescue operation is still going on and some more bodies could be recovered or their might be some people trapped inside but the fire has been controlled to a large extent," he said.

The government also announced that it had opened a murder case against the owner of the factory, Ali Enterprises, his two sons and the managers at three-storey garments factory in Baldia town on the outskirts of Karachi.

"We are also investigating whether safety regulations were followed in the factory," senior police official, Aamir Farooqi said.

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