Tuesday, September 22, 2009

10 Picnickers drown at Gaddani coast

Ten picnickers drowned while bathing here at Gaddani coast on the second day of Eid on Tuesday.

The powerful waves at Gaddani coast took away fifteen people while they were bathing and playing on the second day of Eid. Six people were rescued while bodies of ten were fished out by the life guards.

TMO Gaddani Zafar iqbal told Geo News that people have been coming to the coast in crowds during Eid holidays. Over 30 youth were bathing at the beach when a large wave came sucking away fifteen of them.

The life guards present at the coast jumped into action and managed to save six of them while ten people lost their lives by drowning. The bodies of the drowned have been fished out and taken to hospital.

The hospital sources said the dead have been identified as Changaiz Khan son of Khursheed, Bashir son of Fazl-ur-Rehman, Aziz son of Abdul Rehman, Abdul Majeed son of Ali Sher, Saqib Awan son of Mushtaq Awan, Khurram son of Saeed, Imran son of Muhammad Khan, Hussain and Kashif. They were residents of various areas of Karachi.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


City District Government Karachi has started fixing of tyre killers on U turns to stop the motorists going wrong side of the road. These tyre killers will cut the tyres of vehicles trying to cross over them while going in wrong direction.

EDO Transport & Communication Iftikhar Qaimkhani during a visit to signal free corridors and other important roads of the city on Friday said that durable tyre killers were being fixed on u turns on the special directive of City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal who had taken strict notice of the movement of traffic in wrong direction on signal free corridors especially on u turns.

He further said that the construction of these u turns on many roads of the city was aimed at providing convenience to motorists and citizens while traveling on long corridors but the facility is now being used wrongly which has created troubles to citizens.

He said that City Government was taking further measures to improve the transport system of the city on the directives of Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal and all decision in this regard will be implemented.

He also directed for re designing of Nipa Chowrangi so that traffic problems could be solved at this busy junction of the city. EDO T&C also issued instructions for marking of traffic signs at Corridor –III in a much better and visible way for guidance of motorists using this corridor.

Friday, September 18, 2009

KSE-100 index hits 13 months high ahead of Eid Holidays

The bull run continued at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) on Friday, a day ahead of the Eid holidays. KSE 100-Index hit the highest level of 13 months. The business started in a positive zone and buying by the foreign investors helped index in crossing the 9,400 points. At the end of the day, index closed at 9,436 with an addition of 213 points which was last witnessed on August 2008. The business volume remained 240.45 million shares. Jahangir Siddiqi and Company’s shares remained prominent whose share reached Rs 30.53 with an addition of Rs 1.45.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Khori Garden Karachi: 19 die including 14 women in stampede for food

At least nineteen persons including fourteen women were killed and several others wounded in the stampede as they lined up to collect flour and other supplies being handed out by a charity in Mithadar, Karachi, Dunya News reported Monday. The Sindh government has announced Rs 100 thousand each for the heirs of dead. Prime Minister, President and Chief Minster Sindh has directed an immediate probe into the incident. Emergency has been imposed in all the hospitals of Karachi after the incident.

According to police officials, a trader in Kachi Para area of populous commercial area Mithadar was distributing ‘Zakat’ and other free supplies as stampede erupted in the women lined up. Several women were trampled while 14 died on the spot due to suffocation. Edhi foundation workers rushed to the site of the incident and shifted injured and unconscious ladies to Civil Hospital Karachi. The Hospital officials said that many women were in critical condition. Police has arrested the trader who was distributing free supplies.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Illegal occupation of Shahkar Heights continues against SHC orders

The illegal occupation of Shahkar Heights, a completed housing project of 300 flats in Surjani Town, by the land mafia not only continues but the orders of the Sindh High Court in the matter are also being ignored and violated. Upon the report of its Nazir, the Honorable High Court has taken notice of the disregard of its orders and issued a Show Causes Notice to the kingpin of the project grabbers’ gang. Zafar Hussain Fareedi, and asked him to appear before the Honorable Court on September 17, 2009.
It may be mentioned that last month surjani Town’s infamous and land mafia don, Zafar Hussain Fareedi, along with his armed gangsters and with the backing of the area police, forcibly took over illegal occupation of Shahkar Heights, a project of M/s Shahkar Builders & Developers, located in Sector 4-a, Scheme -41, Surjani Town, and evicted the projects security staff on gun point. Comprising 300 flats, Shahkar Heights is a completely constructed project and allottees were due to get its possession shortly before the illegal occupation of the project took place. According to the builders, th4e land of Shahkar Heights was legally and rightfully allotted in 1986 and leased in 1994. After that, its building plan was approved by the Karachi Building Control Authority, NOC obtained from KBCA for sale and advertisement of the project, water connection charges were paid to the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board and then construction of the project was completed after fulfilling all legal requirement. However, now the 300 allottees of the project are being severely victimized and deprived of their lawfully owned property through illegal occupation. —PR

Friday, September 11, 2009

‘Murders’ of unwanted babies remain undocumented, unpunished

By Faiza Ilyas

The silence in Mowach Goth graveyard, mainly reserved for bodies of abandoned persons, is peculiar. The mystery unfolds as one catches a glimpse of an area with many small graves, without any headstones. The graves are of those unwanted newborns whose right to life was snatched by their own parents.

Every month, there is an addition of 20 to 25 bodies, the majority of which are of girls. These unfortunate souls are rejected not only by their parents, but the state, too. There is no official record of their birth and death, while the police do not register an FIR to conduct post-mortem for determining the actual cause of mortality. This violation of the law notwithstanding, it’s difficult to deny the fact that theirs is the case of cold-blooded murder.

“We appeal to people not to kill their babies and give them to us. We will provide them with food and shelter,” said Bilquis Edhi and Ramzan Chippa on behalf of their volunteer services. On average, about 20 to 25 and 15 to 20 bodies of newborns are recovered by the Edhi and Chippa services respectively every month from Karachi. Those handled by Chippa are buried in the Mewashah graveyard.

When asked if such cases have increased in the city over the years, both replied in the positive.

“I am unable to provide data on this, but I can say with confidence that more bodies of newborns are recovered now than in the past,” Bilquis Edhi observed. She further said that Karachi topped the list of such cases, followed by Islamabad and Lahore.

“We recover about 20 to 25 bodies of mature and five others of immature infants every month. During April this year, Edhi services recovered about 37 bodies. There are no specific areas and the bodies are recovered from all over Karachi, followed by Islamabad and Lahore, from where on average 15 to 10 bodies are discovered per month.”

She also pointed out that besides Edhi, there were also other social welfare organisations working in Lahore with the aim to provide shelter to abandoned children.

The bodies, often disfigured and mauled by stray animals, birds and insects and at times burnt, are recovered usually in plastic bags from garbage dumps, sewers, drains and filthy narrow lanes. “They may have been born through an illegitimate act, but they all have a right to life,” said Mrs Edhi.

Low survival rate

“At times, babies are rescued from the spot, but die later. They have a very low survival rate. The skin has almost turned blue or dark blue with severe infection at many spots. There are some, however, who leave their children in cradles set up at Edhi centres. The babies are later handed over to families interested in adoption only if they fulfil a certain criteria,” she added.

Both Edhi and Chippa, operating 45 and 25 centres respectively, have put cradles at their centres to discourage people from taking the lives of their unwanted babies.

“Two months ago, we recovered a baby girl lying in a narrow lane in North Karachi. The infant remained in the incubator for a week or so but, unfortunately, could not survive,” said Ramzan Chippa, adding that no parent has so far voluntarily given away their unwanted baby to the service.

“It has been some six to eight months since we have got actively involved in the rescue and recovery operation of unwanted babies. Earlier, that was not our main area of work,” he said.

While the Chippa service contacts the nearest local police station to bring the case of the body’s recovery on record, the Edhi service does no such thing. “There is no restriction from the police, though we do keep the record ourselves. Many times, the police hand over such bodies to us for burial,” said Bilquis Edhi.

Legal aspect

Talking about the legal position on such cases, Javed Iqbal Barki, a senior advocate of the Sindh High Court and human rights activist said: “There is no ambiguity in the law about such cases. If an abandoned body is found, the state is responsible to get an FIR registered and the police are bound to conduct investigations and post-mortem to ascertain the actual cause of death. But, the inefficient role of the police is evident to all and sundry, especially in cases where the FIR is registered against unknown persons and there are no chances of making money.”

He further said the advancement in forensic technology had made the police’s job easier through DNA testing and other techniques. “Finding parents of unwanted babies is no more a difficult task and the police can easily trace the culprits,” he said, while suggesting that the national identity card should also contain details of the blood group.

When asked whether newborns’ bodies are brought to hospitals for post-mortem, Dr Zulfiqar Siyyal, additional police surgeon at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), said: “Under the law, a post-mortem should be conducted so we can ascertain the actual cause of death. But this is not done mainly because such cases are not brought to the hospital. Generally, in such cases newborns are murdered and thrown away. The police are not interested since the crime has been committed by unknown persons, hence there is no FIR registration, nor post-mortem.” According to the JPMC record, no autopsy of any newborn has been conducted during the past eight months at the hospital.

Police’s version

When Capital City Police Officer Wasim Ahmed was contacted for his comments on the story, he said the law enforcers move in line with the defined regulations every time they find bodies of infants in any part of the city.

“We properly lodge an FIR of murder under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on tracing bodies of infants,” he said. “There are several cases in which the police have found babies alive, left abandoned in different places and in such a situation a case under Section 329 of the PPC is lodged, which relates to concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body.”

Section 329 states: “Whoever, by secretly burying or otherwise disposing of the dead body of a child whether the child dies before or after or during birth, intentionally conceals or endeavours to conceal the birth of such child, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” The police chief said that autopsy of the dead bodies of infants was considered mandatory, but argued that in most cases such practice was not followed by the medical staff of the respective hospitals on logical grounds. “In these kinds of cases (death of infants), the opinions of doctors without undertaking autopsies are considered valid,” said Mr Ahmed. “They (doctors) can reach the cause of death through brief examination of the infant’s body and such findings are respected as valid. The law provides doctors room to issue a certificate on their observation without an autopsy.” (Dawn)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BAN ON PILLION RIDING: Citizens lose Rs 15 mln daily

By S J A Jafri

It is said that there were no plans by the government to lift ban on pillion riding as the prevailing situation was not conducive for it these days.
According to an expert of transport, more than five lac people daily travel with pillion riders on motorcycles and scooters. A rough estimate indicates that without pillion riding, the to and fro double fare from and to home and desired destination daily costs at least Rs 30 per person. This was a huge benefit for the public transporters who get extra passengers in buses, and also an extra income allegedly with a share in the booty meant for the police too, the expert said.
The transport expert said if the figure of Rs 30 is multiplied with five lack, the cost comes to Rs 1.5 crore daily, and if this is taken to a month it becomes Rs 45 crores in a month. In eight months with ban on pillion riding, the transporters have allegedly minted more than Rs 360 crores.
The transport expert said: This a transport and police mafia which has forced the government to impose ban on pillion riding and this was causing huge benefit to transporters.

The transport mafia is getting full benefit and it is alleged that they have paid huge bribes to police and Home Department to impose ban on pillion riding.
The Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza after imposing ban since last eight months may not have fully considered how much citizens of Karachi are suffering, with this daily cost of Rs 1.5 crore daily they have to pay in fares.
The heavy rainfalls in city also caused more agony for the citizens as the transporters withdrew their buses and commuters faced hardships at bus stops.
The government’s reason to impose ban on pillion riding was reported to be the fear of terrorists, suicidal attacks and targeted killings carried out with help of pillion riding too. However, CCPO Karachi Waseem Ahmed has recently already said that targeted killing was on the rise in Karachi.
There is already shortage of public transport in the city as 1200 khatara buses are no good to ply whereas at least 2500 buses are required for commuters who were forced to travel on roof tops of the buses and mini-buses, packed inside as the poor and middle class people travel daily in the buses and mini-buses.
There is no ban on pillion riding in any part of the country though law and order situation was bad in many other different parts. A member of NGO said Karachiites are being victimized as a result of the ban on the pillion riding. (NC)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Channelisation of Gujjar Nullah soon

Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal has said that the real cause of accumulation of rain water on roads is not infrastructure but city’s seven big drains.
As per actual plan the drains are 77 meter wide but have shrunk from 5-7 meter at various places because of encroachments and as a result their cleaning has become impossible.
He was talking to media after a visit to the city on Monday/Tuesday night.
Mustafa Kamal pointed out that the city received 125 mm of rain within a short time and now here pumps machines were used to drain out water which drained out within few hours through the infrastructure. He said that for the last 2 years he had been clamouring that city’s sewerage is disposed of through seven major drains, but these have blocked because of encroachments and the problems will keep multiplying with the passage of every day.
He said it is not within the city government power to solve this problem, but all political parties, citizens and media will have to play their role in this regard.
He said no room is left for drainage of sewerage water and whenever city government starts action for removal of encroachments, it is made a political and linguistic issue, although it is purely a humane issue and needs to be resolved. Mustafa Kamal said that work on channelisation of Gujjar nullah has been started and it would again be widened to 77 meters because city’s sewerage drainage will only be solved through complete channelisation of seven nullahs.
He informed that city government has made complete preparation, encroachments marked and development works started in areas where those shifted would be rehabilitated.
He asked the media representatives to extend full cooperation and prepare the citizens to understand that elilmination of encroachments is in the interest of city and citizens.
Nazim Karachi said whosoever remains on the seat does not make any difference because these are government projects and would certainly see completion as there is no other alternative to it. He told the media that marking of encroachments has been completed in two towns and work would be visible on ground within a week.
He announced that encroachments would be removed without any discrimination and even MQM voters would be removed first because it is an issue of the city.