KARACHI: The Sindh government is all set to impose Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure against swimming in the beaches of Karachi, Express News reported on Thursday.
Section 144 bans the a gathering of more than four people at one place for rallies and protests.
Further, one more body has been found-- increasing the total number of bodies to 23 recovered by the Navy Sea King helicopter.
"Nineteen bodies have been pulled out of the sea while the search for four more people continues," Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, the city's top administrator told AFP earlier in the day. The bathers were among thousands who had taken to the beaches to celebrate Eid holidays.
Twenty one of the bodies were recovered off the Clifton Beach area (Sea View), while two were found off Hawks Bay, according to Express News.
Siddiqui added that a search operation had been launched with the help of Navy divers and a helicopter, as well as civil authorities.
Senior police officer Ibadat Nisar said: "The government imposed a ban on swimming in the sea before the start of the monsoon season in June and police were deployed to implement the ban, but people became violent."
Relatives of some of the missing were gathered at Clifton beach, anxiously awaiting word of their loved ones.
Faiz Rehman, 32, said he and his younger brother had come to the beach on Wednesday to go for a swim along with two friends -- who were now missing.
He said: “As we were swimming in the sea, I noticed the waves getting bigger and more rough, and I got scared and started swimming back.”
“I also called my brother and friends to swim back to the shore. My brother returned but my two friends were still swimming as the waves got bigger I lost sight of them.”
"I waited for around three hours but they didn't return."
Administrator Siddiqui added that a search operation had been launched with the help of Navy divers and a helicopter, as well as civil authorities.
The Bahria helicopter pulled four bodies out of the sea, and rescue teams from Edhi and Chhipa are still present as rescue efforts are still underway, Express News reported.
Further, Express News reported that police had attempted to dispel the crowd from the beach on Thursday as people were still flocking to the sea for picnics. The attempt to clear the beach by the police got a little violent with the crowd.
"We are still searching for dead bodies and these people can see the dead bodies with their eyes but they are still fighting with us to allow them to swim in the sea," Fahad Ali, a police official deployed at the beach told AFP.
"These people have came with their family members, there are women and children and you can see kids as young as six and their parents are fighting with us to allow them to swim in the sea," he said.
"This is the height of stupidity," he added.
Efforts are being made to recover a car that submerged in the sea. However, the crane being used to lift the car also got stuck, according to Express News.
Express News screengrab of the crane and car stuck in the sea.
Police have blocked the road leading to Hawks Bay beach for security purposes, resulting in heavy traffic. The orders came from IG Sindh on Thursday morning.
Senior police officer Ibadat Nisar told AFP the government had imposed a ban on swimming in the sea before the start of the monsoon season in June.
IGP Sindh Ghulam Haider Jamali has constituted a high powered inquiry committee under Additional IG Karachi to ascertain facts and responsibility in the tragic drowning incident at Sea View. The committee will submit it’s a report within 24 hours. DIG East, DIG South, SSP Security are members of the committee.
Meanwhile, the IGP suspended the area SHO and removed DSP Darakshan from his position.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain expressed on Thursday their deep grief and sorrow over the tragic incident in Karachi where 22 people drowned while swimming the sea over the Eid holidays.
In separate messages, the president and the prime minister conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan said officials should use all possible resources for the rescue operation.
Furthermore, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief Altaf Hussain said a ban should be imposed on all Karachi beaches. He expressed sorrow over the loss of lives of young people on Eidul Fitr.