The management of the Keenjhar Lake has temporarily closed down its boat service after 10 people of the same family from Karachi drowned in the lake earlier this week.
On Monday, 10 women and children from Karachi’s Mehmoodabad drowned after a wooden boat overturned in the Keenjhar Lake. There were a total of 14 passengers aboard when the boat overturned. Four people, the boat driver, and three women, have been rescued but are said to be in critical condition.
The driver, Abdul Jabbar, has been arrested for his negligence.
According to reports, every year hundreds of people visit the lake for picnics and to pay respect at the Noori Jam Tamachi tomb. Many of these people become victims of accidents. This is because of a lack of proper safety measures taken by the boat riders and the absence of a proper law or rules for the boat rides.
Keenjhar Boat Association member Rabnawaz said that the government never provides them any funds to improve the condition of the boats. “In 2003, a similar incident had taken place where 29 people had drowned after a boat had overturned,” he said.
“After the incident, the Maritime Security Agency had gotten a fitness test conducted for all the ships,” Rabnawaz said, adding that after that year no fitness test or registration had taken place.
The people visiting the area say that it’s the responsibility of the police to prevent boats from overloading. “But the police’s sole patrolling boat does not even work,” a visitor added.
On the other hand, the Sindh Tourism Cooperation blamed the fishermen for the negligence. “An area of the lake spread across 2.5 kilometers has been illegally taken over by fishermen who offer boat rides to people,” the cooperation’s Keenjhar Lake in-charge Makhdoom Gulzar said.
The petitioner said that there should be a law regulating licenses for people to operate boats. Passengers aren’t provided with life jackets and the boats are often overcrowded, he complained.
He said that an investigation should be launched against the SP and SHO, among others. The court has fixed the case for hearing.