Sabotage not ruled out in Pakistan factory fire: Rehman Malik

Sabotage not ruled out in Pakistan factory fire: Rehman Malik

The possibility of sabotage cannot be ruled out in the garment factory fire in Pakistan's port city Karachi that left at least 259 people dead, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Sunday.

Statements from fire-fighters and injured people that said all exit gates were closed when the fire broke out has caused suspicion about the possible motives behind the incident, Xinhua reported.

Pakistan's parliament, opposition parties, rights and labour groups have called for a judicial inquiry into one of the worst fire incidents in the country's history.

The interior minister, who visited the gutted factory Sunday, said investigators are looking at all options including the element of sabotage.

He said terrorists are bent upon destroying peace in Karachi, where political, sectarian attacks and bomb blasts have killed hundreds of people in recent months.

"Investigators will look at the intentions behind the incident and the possible involvement of people," Malik was quoted as saying.

The minister said the late arrival of fire-fighters will also be investigated.

Malik said he has also taken note that the fire-fighters had brought scarce water.

One of the factory owners, who got temporary pre-arrest bail, said fire tenders arrived nearly one-and-a-half hours late.

The interior minister said anyone found guilty will be severely punished.Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who took an aerial view of the factory Saturday, has sought an inquiry report.