KARACHI: The Sindh High Court directed a committee set up by provincial authorities to prepare draft rules and regulations for coastal sports/tourism to submit its draft report to the Sindh government within a month so that they could notify it in the official gazette.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed that till the framing of rules and regulations petitioner divers would not be restrained from coastal sports activities as already agreed in the meeting of all stakeholders provided that they would follow all requisite safety measures and security clearance.

Petitioner Jaffar Raza along with some other divers had moved the SHC in March after they had been unable to access Churna Island. In October, the bench had directed the Sindh chief secretary to convene a meeting with all the stakeholders to sort out the issue.

At the outset, the additional advocate general (AAG) filed a statement along with the minutes of the meeting held on Nov 1 in which it was decided that a 10-member committee would be constituted to prepare a draft report with regard to coastal leisure sports/tourism including scuba diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing, parasailing, etc, within a period of one month.

A body tasked with framing rules for scuba diving, snorkelling, etc to submit its report to the Sindh govt in a month

A notification has also been issued by the chief secretary on the day of the meeting to set up the committee comprising secretaries of the sports and youth affairs and culture and tourism departments, a representative of Bahria University, legal affairs director of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA), managing director of the coastal development agency, a representative of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, two water sportsman, a diving instructor and a dive master.

The bench in its order stated that as per the notification, the committee had been tasked to draft the rules and regulations to determine the scope of activities mentioned in the terms of reference vis-à-vis tourism and sports, prepare safety standards to protect visitors and to draft rules in the light of international practices with proper safety/security. It added that the committee would submit its report within 30 days.

The notification further said that Lt Cdr Imran-ul-Haq, the director (legal) of the PMSA, also participated in the meeting and agreed that till rules were framed the petitioners would be allowed to do sports activities as per international standards if they follow proper safety and security clearance from the PMSA.

The AAG assured the bench that the committee would submit its report and further action would be taken by the provincial government for notifying the rules and regulations in the official gazette within 30 days.

As far as the intervening period was concerned, the bench in its order stated that all the stakeholders had already decided in the meeting that till new rules were framed, the petitioners would not be restrained from water sports activities during the months of November and December, but they would maintain safety standards.

Former federal minister gets bail

Another division bench of the SHC granted bail to former federal minister Kamran Michael.

The National Accountability Bureau had arrested the former minister, who is also a leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, in February for allegedly misusing his official authority as the ports and shipping minister and taking bribes of millions of rupees for allotment of three plots in the Karachi Port Trust Officers Cooperative Housing Society.

The applicant, through his lawyer, moved the SHC and after hearing both sides a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh granted him bail.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019