KARACHI- The coastal belt of Sindh has been closed till November 2 as Section 144 has been imposed as a precautionary measure for Cyclone Nilofar. Section 144 has been imposed on the coastal belt of Karachi, Thatta, Sajawal and Badin.

Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui has asked the Pakistan Navy, Maritime Security Agency and Coast Guard to arrange the immediate return of fishermen from sea. The commissioner has also directed concerned departments to ensure strict implementation of Section 144, banning bathing and swimming in the sea as well as making beach safety arrangements more effective.

The Meteorological Department states that Nilofar is moving at 6 KM/Hr towards the north and northwest. The tropical cyclone is expected to move towards the coastal areas of Sindh from the northeast tomorrow (Wednesday).

The cyclone is expected to trigger rains and strong winds in lower parts of Sindh including Karachi from Wednesday to Friday. However it appears that few members of the Sindh Assembly are concerned about the damage that Cyclone Nilofar may inflict on the province’s coastal areas. On Tuesday when a lawmaker raised the matter of precautionary measures taken by the government ahead of the approaching storm, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani was quick to hush the matter away. “It looks like Nilofar could be a lady's name,” Durrani joked.

When a lady lawmaker insisted that the House should know of the safety measures taken in this regard, the Speaker assured her that nothing could arm Karachi as long as Abdullah Shah Ghazi's tomb was near the sea. “(Saint) Abdullah Shah Ghazi has saved us many times before and he will save us this time as well,” he said. Durrani went on to say those afraid of ‘Nilofar’ could move towards the

Sindh’s countryside.

Severe tropical cyclone Nilofar, which officials say is intensifying gradually, is expected to hit parts of Pakistan and India in coming days.