KARACHI: Amid the imposition of Section 144 banning citizens from walking the shores of the beach, Karachi’s fishermen have decided to launch a hunger strike to challenge what they call an ‘unjustified’ ban on fishing. The campaign will be launched from Friday at Sea View.
This was announced in an emergency meeting held by the Pakistan Fishermen Forum (PFF) in Ibrahim Haidery on Wednesday. The fishermen of Karachi’s coastal belt, including Mubarak Village, Abdul Rahman Goth, Singo Goth, Kaka Village, Tekri Village, Bhutha Village, Shirin Jinnah Colony, Gizri, Ibrahim Haidery, Chashma Goth, Rehri Goth, Lath Basti and others participated in the meeting.
A majority of the coastal belt’s fishing community uses boats for fishing across the province. However, the workers of Gizri, Shirin Jinnah Colony and Keamari usually go to beaches from neighbouring localities on bicycles and use smaller fishing nets to catch fish and earn their meagre daily wages.
The fishermen community alleged that they are being deceived as an official of the provincial government allowed them to fish but they were stopped when they reached the beach.
The meeting also decided that a march from Sea View to Karachi Press Club will also be arranged on Sunday in which thousands of fishermen from the coastal belt will participate.
“Men and women will participate in the hunger strike,” said PFF media coordinator Farhan Hyder. “It is the matter of our survival.”
The PFF held a meeting with the commissioner on Tuesday and the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Jam Khan Shoro, on Wednesday. “Shoro sahib has assured us that he will try his best to lift the ban on fishing,” said PFF chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah. Shah told The Express Tribune that they do not blame the DHA for the ban. Instead, they hold the provincial authorities responsible as they have denied the communities to enter into the waters.
According to the fishermen, they are far better at rescue operations than the unskilled lifeguards appointed by the government.
They suggested that the government appoint them instead of the lifeguards who lack training. “Fishermen know how to play with even high tides,” said Shah. “It is an unjustified ban after the Sea View tragedy.”
He said that the fishing community of Sindh is ready to take responsibility of all the beaches where people come for visits.
“Not a single visitor will drown, if local fishermen are assigned the task of lifeguards,” he claimed, adding that presently deployed lifeguards are not even capable of swimming in the seawaters.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th,2014.
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