Fishermen of the lower Gizri area staged a protest at Clifton beach on Monday after some of their peers were allegedly beaten up by the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) staff for fishing along the coastal belt.
A group of fishermen were setting up their nets some distance from the seashore near the Emaar Crescent Bay project when they had a run-in with DHA vigilance officers.
“Fishermen have been barred from using boats along the coastal belt,” complained Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) Chairperson Muhammad Ali Shah. “They have even been stopped from using the seashore.”
Only a few points have been marked out for fishing. The jurisdiction over Karachi’s coastline is divided between DHA and the Karachi Port Trust.
DHA Vigilance Director Col (ret) Amjad initially refused to acknowledge that any such incident had taken place. When pushed, however, he said, “We don’t stop anyone. There are just a few places such as the desalination plant and Emaar where we are a bit strict due to security.”
He admitted that some fishermen had come to his office complaining. “I cannot meet everyone,” said the director. “There is a way of doing things here – I directed them to my deputy.”
Shah, meanwhile, feels that fishermen have first rights over Karachi’s coastline. “These people have used the waters for centuries. First the boats were an issue and now even the seashore.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2011.
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