Leaders of MQM, which since 2017 has splintered into different factions, portrayed the verdict as a vindication and expressed condolences for the victims. “We express our sympathies with the victims’ families as they had to wait for eight years to get justice,” said Faisal Sabzwari, an MQM leader.
Ali Haider Zaidi, a federal minister and member of the governing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the verdict should give some closure to the families, but he noted that only low-level workers had been sentenced.
“Sad part of the verdict is that as usual, the facilitators, planners, aiders & abettors escape punishment while the little guy who committed these crimes on their orders get sentenced,” Mr. Zaidi said on Twitter.
Ms. Khatoon, who lost a son in the fire, has formed a victims group called Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees. Along with relatives of three other victims, she sued KiK and has moved to file complaints against the Pakistani social auditing firm RINA, which granted fire-safety certificates to the factory seven days before the blaze.
After four years of campaigning and negotiations by a network of Pakistan’s labor rights groups with their global partners, KiK agreed to pay $5.15 million in compensation to the victims’ families through the International Labor Organization.
Muhammad Essa, a rickshaw driver whose nephew died in the fire, said that the family had been waiting for justice for a long time. “On that fateful day, my nephew left the home for the factory with a smile, but his body was returned to the home in the form of coal,” Mr. Essa said.
He added, “God will punish the culprits who burned innocent and poor workers alive in the factory.”
Zia ur-Rehman reported from Karachi and Salman Masood from Islamabad, Pakistan.