KARACHI: A police probe into the recent deaths of 34 swimmers at Karachi beaches pinned the responsibility of the incident on the city administration, DawnNews quoted sources as saying on Sunday.

A report presented by Additional Inspector General (AIG) Karachi police Ghulam Qadir Thebo to Inspector General (IG) Ghulam Hyder Jamali said the city administration had not imposed Section 144 when bathers had flocked to the sea, but had done so after reports of the deaths surfaced. For this reason, the police was not authorised to prevent people from going to the beach.

Sources quoting the report said that Section 144 — which bans the a gathering of more than four people at one place — had expired, whereas the city administration issues the notification for Section 144 when the tide is high.

The report also states that only three out of the 34 swimmers drowned at Hawkesbay beach, while the rest had drowned from a portion of Clifton beach situated behind Dolmen Mall, Clifton. The police report suggests that experts should investigate the nature of underwater trenches at Clifton beach to determine whether they were natural or man-made.

The IG of Sindh police will present the report during a session of the central committee today.

Eid celebrations in Karachi were marred by the deaths of 31 bathers who drowned while bathing in the sea at different points of Clifton and Hawksbay beaches.

Pakistan Navy helicopters were also used in the rescue operation.

IG Jamali had constituted an investigative committee which included Karachi's police chief, to probe the incident.

Earlier experts had claimed that the high number of deaths by drowning may have occurred due to dredging activities carried out in the vicinity for the extension of port operations.