Karachi drownings


What the government should have done

The drowning of 35 people in the rough Karachi seas, with four people still missing, is just another example of the government failing in one of its main duties. City authorities know only too well how wild Indian Ocean waves can become during monsoon. And with Eid coming when the beaches are at their deadliest, even the minimal necessary precautions on the part of the government would have prevented the tragedy.

First of all, the excuse on part of police personnel, that people just did not listen to their warnings, cannot be accepted. If the law said that the water was too dangerous for swimming, and enforcement officials were present on ground, then that should have been the end of the matter. Granted, the type of spirited youth that must have taken to the sea during Eid holidays is not the most compliant segment of society, but such matters should not deter the police from doing its duty. How would they seem if they said burglaries cannot be controlled because thieves just refuse to stop stealing?

Then there is also the matter of life guards. Most beaches in the world are made safer by expert guards who sometimes undertake numerous search and rescue missions per day during peak season. It defies logic that the government has never taken the trouble to train and appoint life guards at our beaches. The few that are found here and there are the work of a private organisation, an NGO, with little or no official support. It is hardly surprising, then, that such deaths occur. And as usual, the government wakes up only after a monumental tragedy, yet still does not bother to take necessary steps to forestall future disasters.

The Karachi drownings are a lesson for all; the public and the government. The people have a responsibility as well. If they are unwilling to pay heed to public warnings, then there is only so much others can do to protect them.