Murder Charges Filed in Deadly Pakistan Fires
Pakistani government officials have also been charged
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2012 1:00 PM CDT
People get ready to offer funeral prayers of workers who lost their lives in a factory fire, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 in Karachi, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
camera-icon View 5 more images

(Newser) – The Pakistani government has filed murder charges in the wake of yesterday's devastating factory fires in two separate cities. Government officials and the factory owners are the targets of the charges, which claim that "utter negligence to provide adequate security to the factory workers" was to blame for the staggering death toll, which now sits at 289 for the Karachi fire and 25 for the fire in a Lahore shoe factory, reports al-Jazeera. Police are currently searching for the owners of the Karachi factory, a pair of brothers who have been barred from leaving the country.

"The owners were more concerned with safeguarding the garments in the factory than the workers," one employee said. Some families have been able to carry out funerals for their loved ones who perished, but the vast majority of bodies have still yet to be identified. In the meantime, a retired Pakistani judge has been appointed to look into how much the owners knew of the unsafe conditions, and what protection systems were or were not available within the factories. Karachi shut down today in mourning for the victims.