The Sindh government is all set to impose Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against swimming in the beaches of Karachi.
Section 144 bans gathering of more than four people at one place for rallies and protests.
Earlier, at least 19 bathers had drowned and four were missing in the rough seas off Karachi, officials said on Thursday, after defying a ban on swimming in rough waters during the monsoon season.
“Nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the sea while the search for four more people continues,” Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, the Commissioner Karachi told media. The bathers were among thousands who had taken to the beaches to celebrate Eid holidays.
Eighteen of the bodies were recovered off the Clifton Beach area (Sea View), while one was found off Hawks Bay.
Siddiqui added that a search operation had been launched with the help of Navy divers and a helicopter, as well as civil authorities.
Senior police officer Ibadat Nisar said: “The government imposed a ban on swimming in the sea before the start of the monsoon season in June and police were deployed to implement the ban, but people became violent.”
Relatives of some of the missing were gathered at Clifton beach, anxiously awaiting word of their loved ones. Faiz Rehman, 32, said he and his younger brother had come to the beach on Wednesday to go for a swim along with two friends — who were now missing.
He said: “As we were swimming in the sea, I noticed the waves getting bigger and rougher, and I got scared and started swimming back.”
“I also called my brother and friends to swim back to the shore. My brother returned but my two friends were still swimming as the waves got bigger I lost sight of them.”
“I waited for around three hours but they didn’t return.”
Commissioner Karachi added that a search operation had been launched with the help of Navy divers and a helicopter, as well as civil authorities.
Police had attempted to dispel the crowd from the beach on Thursday as people were still flocking to the sea for picnics, the attempt to clear the beach by the police got a little violent with the crowd, media report said.
“We are still searching for dead bodies and these people can see the dead bodies with their eyes but they are still fighting with us to allow them to swim in the sea,” Fahad Ali, a police official deployed at the beach told media.
“These people have come with their family members, there are women and children and you can see kids as young as six and their parents are fighting with us to allow them to swim in the sea,” he said.” This is the height of stupidity,” he added.
Efforts were being made to recover a car that submerged in the sea. However, the crane being used to lift the car also got stuck.
Senior police officer Ibadat Nisar told media that the government had imposed a ban on swimming in the sea before the start of the monsoon season in June.
Twelve bodies were recovered from Clifton beach on Wednesday night after which the rescue operation was suspended owing to insufficient light whereas an additional six bodies were recovered after 6.00 am on Thursday morning. The bodies were shifted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).
Four victims were identified as 12-year-old Mazhar, 17-year-old Khizar, 19-year-old Iqrar and 23-year-old Nazeebullah.
Moreover, two bodies were also recovered from Hawkes Bay on Thursday. Reports were also received about two bodies found from Sunehra (Golden) beach. However, this could not be confirmed.
Rescue efforts were under way to recover three missing bodies out of a total of 23 people who had drowned.
Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said that Pakistan Navy helicopters were also being used in the rescue operation.
Governor Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah summoned report about the incident
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain expressed on Thursday their deep grief and sorrow over the tragic incident in Karachi where 22 people drowned while swimming the sea over the Eid holidays.
In separate messages, the president and the prime minister conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls