Fishermen get exemption from beach ban

KARACHI: At least 350 fishermen, who catch fish from shallow waters along the Sea View resort in Karachi, have been given specific passes  identity cards by the city administration to be exempted from section 144, a focal person of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) said on Friday.
Now those having identity cards can move to the beaches for fish catch by showing their identity cards to the deployed forces, said Qurrat Mirza, who pleaded the case with the government authorities.
We mobilized the coastal communities of entire city to join the campaign for restoration of the livelihoods of fellow community members. We held meetings with Sindh fisheries minister, commissioner Karachi, deputy commissioner and director general fisheries to resolve the issue, as the fishermen work as daily earners, feeding their poor families, she said.
It is the outcome of our continuous struggle with the participation of communities and positive response from the city administration to have restored the source of livelihoods for the communities, who have been engaged at shallow waters and were disturbed after the government imposed section 144, asked beachgoers to restrain from going there, she said, adding that now the people were safe.
The government authorities had imposed section 144 and stopped beachgoers to move there after the horrible incident occurred on the occasions of Eidul Fitr in which 40 picnickers were drowned at the Sea View area. The authorities took a bid for safeguarding the picnickers, but the community people were taking it differently, because there was no way out for the community workforce, which depends on the sea water for their livelihoods.
The affected community people belong to Gizri, Shireen Jinnah Colony, Keamari and other neighbourhoods of Karachi, who carrying small fishing nets and tools, usually travel on bicycles to the shallow waters and catch a small amount of fish for their families survival. They being swimmers also help the people in case of drowning incidents along the picnic resorts. However, after the Eid tragedy, a large number of community workforce was suffered from the restriction.
PFF Chairperson Mohammed Ali Shah and General Secretary Saeed Baloch led the community movement and formed different committees for initiating dialogue with the city administration to resolve the issue. They termed it the issue of life and death for the community workforce catching a smaller amount of fish daily to feed their families.
They said the community people being natural custodians of these waters should not be stopped through such restrictions, as they depend on the sea for their livelihoods.
Hundreds of families were experiencing the trouble for the first time after the Eid tragedy as they were stopped from going there. The workforce usually belongs to daily earner families of the city coastal areas. 

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