KARACHI - At least 350 fishermen, who catch fish from the shallow waters along the famous Sea View resort in Karachi have been given specific passes and identity cards by the City administration to be exempted from Section 144.

A focal person of Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), Qurrat Mirza, on Friday said, “Those who have identity cards can move to beach for fish catch by showing their identity to the deployed forces.” He pleaded the case with the government authorities.

“We mobilised the coastal communities of entire coasts of the City to join the campaign for restoration of the livelihoods of fellow community members. We held meetings with Sindh Fisheries Minister, Karachi commissioner, deputy commissioner and director general Fisheries to resolve the issue as the fishermen work as daily earners, feeding their poor families,” she said.

She added that it is the outcome of our continuous struggle with the participation of communities and positive response from the city administration to have restored the source of livelihoods for the communities who were disturbed after the government imposed Section 144. “Now the people are safe.”

The government authorities had imposed Section 144 and stopped the beachgoers to move there after the horrible incident occurred on Eidul Fitr in which 40 picnickers were drowned at Sea View. The authorities took a bid for safeguarding the picnickers but the community people were taking it differently because there was no way out for the community workforce which depends on the seawater for their livelihoods.

The affected people belong to Gizri, Shirin Jinnah Colony, Keamari and other neighbourhood of Karachi. Being the swimmers, they also help the people in case of drowning incidents along the picnic resorts. However, after the Eid tragedy, a large number of community people suffered by the restriction.

PFF chairperson Ali Shah and general secretary Saeed Baloch led the community movement and formed different committees for initiating dialogues with the city administration to resolve the issue.

They termed it the issue of life and death for the community workforce which catch a smaller amount of fish daily to bring ease to their families. Any harmful situation may affect a large number of community people and their families.

They said the community people being the natural custodians of these waters should not be stopped through such restrictions as they depend on the sea for their livelihoods.

Hundreds of families were experiencing the trouble for the first time after the Eid tragedy as they were stopped from going there.

Qurrat said, “They are looking if there is a need to have further follow-up meetings with the government authorities to remove any difficulty in the way of restoration of livelihood activities.” She said the decision would benefit hundreds of poor fishermen and their families.