KARACHI: The skies were blue, the water grimy and green and the children shrieking with glee.
The several steps necessary for a fishing trip were reduced to a Rs25 ticket at the Karachi Maritime Museum on Sunday. The park with its marine models is an open-air museum, located at Karsaz. A nongovernmental organisation, Pakistan Sobbing Animal’s Welfare & Environmental Adventure Society (PAKSAS), held a twoday sports gala at the museum to promote water sports and provide the people of Karachi with something to do other than visit Seaview.
The big pond in the park was the site for both fishing and boating. Fishing rods were available for just Rs25 while the pedal boats were just as cheap. It is something to give people who cannot afford, time or money wise, to enjoy boating and fishing, said Tariq Muneeb, the chairman of PAKSAS and also the director of the museum. “If you plan to go fishing you first have to go through the hassle of hiring a boat and a guide, finding a spot, collecting fishing equipment and then worrying whether it will be safe,” he explained, adding that the gala was an opportunity for the public to enjoy the marine activities in a ‘far cheaper and safer manner’.
Eight-year-old Moiz Khalid was one of the happier fishers at the park. “I like seeing the fish up close.” he said happily. Another visitor, Mrs Zahid was just as happy, though the root of her happiness was not the fish but her husband’s childlike joy at the sport. “I think my husband is enjoying himself more than my two children,” she said laughing.
Things at the gala promised to get more exciting at 7 pm when an hour-long fishing competition took place. Anyone could take part in the competition and the one who got the most fish would be declared the winner. Last year’s champion, Saleem, who caught 160 fish in 60 minutes, was at the gala to try his luck again. Since the rules dictated that any fish caught, which included Japanese carp and big gold fish, must be released back into the water, even animal lovers could have a good time.
Muneeb said that the NGO plans to hold another two-day gala on May 2 and 3 at the Maritime Museum in Karachi as well as in interior Sindh, where they will arrange the same fishing competition. They also plan to introduce more water sports for the public like swimming, diving and paratrooping.
Their future aims also include introducing a mobile swimming pool which they would then take to schools and get more children to learn the sport. “We also plan to hold a dolphin show at the Maritime Museum in the summers, which will be the first of its kind in the country.”