Four people drowned at Karachi's Hawkesbay beach on Sunday as the authorities struggled to implement the ban imposed on swimming by the Karachi commissioner in view of ongoing torrential rains and high tides in the sea.
A spokesperson for the Edhi Foundation said the victims were residents of Liaquatabad, adding that two bodies have been recovered while two others remain missing.
Keamari Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mukhtiar Abro identified the quartet as Nihal, 24, Ubaid, 18, Fahad, 17, and Shahrukh, 24.
Senior medico-legal officer Dr Summaiya Syed said Nihal and Ubaid's bodies were brought to Civil Hospital Karachi but their relatives took them away without medico-legal formalities.
The DC said the police had established three check posts at Sandspit, Manora and Hawkesbay where 12 police mobiles were also placed to keep people from bathing in the sea. He said the police had imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) but people continued to approach the sea from dirt roads and nearby goths.
The officer admitted that it was not easy to cover the lengthy coastline.
Meanwhile, Keamari Senior Superintendent of Police Fida Husain Janwari said the police had arrested seven people over charges of violating the swimming ban and cases were registered against them.
The DC and the Edhi Foundation spokesperson said today's incident came a day after two teenagers similarly drowned while swimming at Sandspit beach.
The spokesperson said their bodies were recovered on Sunday morning and identified them as Mamun Karim, 15, and Mohsin Zahoor, 16, adding that they were students and North Karachi residents.
DC Abro told Dawn that their tutor had taken both boys to the beach through a dirt road. He added that the police registered a case against him.
Ban on swimming
The drowning incidents took place despite a ban on swimming imposed by Karachi Commissioner Muhammad Iqbal Memon on July 25.
A notification issued by the commissioner's office stated that "in view of on-going torrential rains and high tides caused in the sea, there is apprehension that swimming, diving, bathing and boating in the sea/beaches may cause harm to public life.”
The official order further said that “there is a high risk of drowning incidents.”
Therefore, "necessary measures are required to save precious lives of the general public.”
“There are sufficient grounds to proceed under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code to avoid any untoward event of drowning and to save precious lives of the general public.
“Now, therefore, in exercise of powers under Section 144 (6) of CrPC delegated by the home department, government of Sindh under notification on April 5, 2020, I, Muhammad Iqbal Memon, Commissioner Karachi Division, do hereby impose a complete ban on bathing, diving and swimming in the sea/beaches within the territorial limits of Karachi Division with effect from July 25 to July 31.
“The deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners of Karachi division are hereby authorised to take action against the violators in coordination with the concerned senior superintendents of police and get the violators booked under section 188 PPC in writing in the concerned police stations for violation of Section 144 CrPC,” the notification reads.