As the Pakistan Navy, civil administration and rescue agencies tried to locate the body of the young engineer who, along with his wife and infant, drowned two days ago in the Buffer Zone Nala, more deaths were reported on Tuesday after five kids drowned in the Malir rivers.
So far, more than 40 people have lost their lives in Karachi in rain-related incidents - most of the deaths occurred due to drowning in the nalas and riverbanks.
The deceased children were identified as Manzur Ahmed and Hasnain - sons of Lal Mohammad, Mahnoor and Maria - daughters of Mureed, and Ali, son of Ghulam Nabi. The children were aged between eight to ten years.
“The children were trying to swim in the Malir River when they drowned,” MPA Sajid Jokhio, who was present at the site, told The Express Tribune. “We found the bodies on our own as no one reach the site when the incident was reported.”
Body still missing
Meanwhile, divers of the Pakistan Navy in assistance of the civil administration continued to search for the body of the ill-fated engineer, Muzaffar, whose car plunged into a Karachi nala on the night between Saturday and Sunday.
The body of his wife Yasmin, 26, and her one-and-a-half-year old son Abeer were taken out of the car on Monday. It took emergency services two days to haul out the vehicle from the Buffer Zone Nala.
“We are trying our level best to find Muzaffar,” a navy diver, Wajid, told The Express Tribune. “Thankfully, the water level has reduced but the rescue operation is taking time due to the large quantity of garbage in the nala.”
Navy divers suspected that the flow of water might have swept the body away. “There are two scenarios as to why we haven’t been able to recover the body as yet - either it was swept away with the flow of water or it is stuck in the garbage,” said another navy diver, Azhar Ali, adding that the civil administration was assisting the navy’s personnel by clearing out the garbage from the nala.
Gone too soon
Muzaffar belonged to an educated family of Hyderabad. His father Saleem Anwar was a journalist by profession. The deceased was one of nine siblings. One of his brothers passed away recently in a bus accident.
Muzaffar, an MBA graduate, was a chemical engineer at a private firm in Karachi. “Muzaffar and Yasmin liked each other even before they were married. They were living happily with each other,” his aunt told The Express Tribune. “We are still in shock over their deaths and can’t understand why this tragedy took place.”
The family, however, blamed the government for the tragic incident. “Everyone knows that there was no boundary around the nala which could prevent a car from plunging into it but still nothing was done,” said victims’ uncle, Sabir. “We just want justice. The people who are responsible should be punished so that such incidents do not take place in the future.”
The funeral prayers for Yasmin and Abeer were offered at the Quba Masjid in North Karachi and later they were buried at the Shah Mohammad graveyard. “We wanted to bury the couple and their son but were unable to do so as Muzaffar is still missing and the bodies of the mother and son were in a very bad condition,” said the family. “We are now just praying to recover Muzaffar to bury him.”
Their relatives said that the delayed rescue operation started only after the family approached the high-ups. “They had gone to Tariq road for shopping but tragedy struck on the way,” said the family. After a passage of two days, Sindh Local Bodies Minister Owais Muzaffar took notice of the incident and asked the Karachi Commissioner to submit a report within three days.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.