Space for the dead: SHC calls for report on lack of ambulances, graveyard space

Authorities will submit comments on the shortage during the heatwave


Our Correspondent July 06, 2015
Authorities will submit comments on the shortage during the heatwave. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court sought comments on Monday from the provincial health, local bodies departments and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation authorities regarding the availability of ambulances in government hospitals and encroachments in graveyards across the province.

A division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, directed the provincial law officers to submit their comments by the second week of August. A civil rights campaigner, Rana Faizul Hasan, had taken the authorities to court over the non-availability of ambulances to shift victims of the recent heatwave and the lack of the space in the cemeteries in Karachi.

He informed the judges that at least 100 unclaimed bodies were buried in a two-foot deep communal grave due to a lack of space in the city’s graveyards.

“Communal burials are only allowed during times of war but we are not facing any war-like situation,” he argued. “Therefore, the communal burial amounts to desecrating the bodies,” he stated.

He said only a few graveyards in Karachi have space to bury bodies, while the rest are full, and the  undertakers are charging Rs10,000 to Rs50,000 for burials.

The petitioner said that there are no ambulances available at any public hospital across Sindh for the public because they are being used by influential people.

The judges issued notices to the provincial chief secretary, health secretary, LB secretary, Karachi commissioner and KMC administrator to file their comments by the next date of hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015. 

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