KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court on Tuesday sentenced two political party operatives to death for starting a fire at a garments factory in Karachi in 2012 that killed 260 people after the factory owners refused to pay bribes.
The court also sentenced the factory’s four guards to life in prison for facilitating the arson and locking the gates, preventing workers from escaping the inferno. But it acquitted four senior members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which was widely blamed for the attack.
The tragedy drew attention to the routine flouting of safety codes in Pakistan, where business owners often bribe local officials to avoid paying fines.
The two who were sentenced to death were members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which has long dominated Karachi politics. It represents Muslims who fled to Pakistan from India during the 1947 partition, known as Mohajirs.
Party spokesman Faisal Subzwari tweeted that the court ruling proved that the group had no role in the fire. He expressed condolences to the families of the victims.