KARACHI: Fisherfolk from the entire city as well several fishing villages from the rest of Sindh gathered at Ibrahim Hyderi on the call of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) on Friday to discuss the issue of the construction of a new city on the twin islands of Bundal and Dingi along Karachi’s coast.
PFF chairman Mohammad Ali Shah said that there were over 300 fishing villages on the coast of Sindh, which happen to be owned by the fisherfolk who have been living there from even before the creation of Pakistan.
“But now the federal government is stepping on their toes with its plans of construction of a new city on Dingi and Bundal islands,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the federal government has had its eye on these islands for long.
“Plans for this were also announced in 2006, during the time of the former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. But after much protest from the fisherfolk community, those plans were set aside,” he said.
“Now, once again the islands are being auctioned off and the step will rob the fisherfolk’s livelihood. In fact, it would affect the entire region with the kind of pollution it will generate. Therefore, not just us fisherfolk, every person from this province is against the construction of this so-called modern city,” he said.
MPA Mahmood Alam Jamote also backed the PFF chairman, saying the sale or auctioning off of the two islands was completely unacceptable.
“Selling the islands is out of the question. It is not to be allowed by the people of Sindh as it is an attack on their province,” he said.
“The delta, the creek areas, the mangrove forests around these islands are harvesting areas for marine life. They are also used by the fishing boats as a passageway to the deep sea. Besides, the islands are the property of Sindh and cannot be stolen so easily. The federal government has decided to construct the city on the twin islands without any consultation with the Sindh government, but the area falls under provincial jurisdiction,” he said.
He urged all the people at the gathering to stand up and raise their voice against the step taken by the federal government.
Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2020