KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday expressed displeasure with Thatta Police senior superintendent and deputy commissioner as they did not submit any report on the recent incident of s boat capsizing near Thatta that resulted in 21 deaths and injuries to 47 others.
A division bench was hearing a petition filed by Justice Helpline, a non-governmental organization, taking the provincial authorities to court and submitting that the boat had drowned near Thatta due to the negligence of concerned authorities.
In Wednesday’s hearing, the judges were displeased when they came to know that no report was submitted by the SSP and deputy commissioner despite its orders.
Directing them to submit the report by Jan 29, the court put off the hearing.
Earlier, the court had directed the concerned authorities to submit the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to avert such incidents in the future.
Advocate Nadeem Shaikh and Atam Parkash submitted in a petition that 68 passengers had boarded the boat from the coastal village of Buharo to attend the annual Urs of Meenhan Pathai – a shrine located on an island off the coast, but their boat capsized.
“It overturned due to high tide and overcrowding; 21 people drowned while 47 others were saved by rescue teams,” they stated.
“Every year, thousands of people visit the shrine, and overcrowded boats are common. The ill-fated boat had a capacity of about 40 people at the most,” they maintained.
It was also reported that the capacity of the said boat was for only 30 to 40 persons but the boat owner overloaded it with more than a 100 passengers.
The civil right campaigners argued that according to the Boat Rules 1953, no licensed boat shall carry a greater number of passengers than the number allowed by its license.
Citing the chief secretary and secretaries—home, local government, maritime affairs—, life stock & fisheries department director-general and fisheries marine director as the respondents, the petitioners appealed to the court to direct the respondents to produce an Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) so that it can ascertain who was responsible to look after the affairs of the Sindh coastal region which.
The court was further requested to direct them to conduct an inquiry into the matter and produce a report within the stipulated time.