KARACHI - Alarmed by the incident of drowning of 12 members of the same family, the authorities on Sunday imposed a ban on the entry of people in Karachi’s 64-kilometre long coastal belt, particularly during holidays till the monsoon season subsides.

Twelve members of the same family, who had arrived at Hawkes Bay beach from different parts of District Central, Paposh Nagar, North Karachi, North Nazimabad and Shadman Town for a picnic had drowned on Saturday. A woman and two children were also among the victims.

The funeral prayers of eleven of them were offered here on Sunday afternoon. Large number of people gathered at Babul Islam Masjid, located in North Karachi Sector-9, and offered the prayers.

Heartbreaking scenes were witnessed when the bodies were brought for the prayers from the morgue situated in Sohrab Goth. Besides a large number of family members, relatives and neighbours, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar along with leaders of several political parties also offered the funeral prayers. The victims were later laid to rest at Muhammad Shah graveyard in North Karachi.

Meanwhile, the funeral prayer of one person was offered after Asr prayers at a Jamia Mosque in Paposh Nagar. Four brothers, father and his son and a daughter were among the victims.

Although a large number of picnickers had arrived at Hawkes Bay on Sunday for a picnic, but they could not make it to the beach as they were stopped by the authorities concerned.

Extra-contingent of police was deployed at the beach to stop the picnickers. “We have ordered to stop the people from coming closer to the beaches to make a picnic or taking bath,” said a police post in-charge Sahib Dad. “We have also been provided with more contingents for that purpose and this decision has been taken in order to protect the lives of citizens.” The city’s 64-kilometre long coastal belt lacks proper lifeguard units working under one authority and the Karachi Municipal Corporation emergency response centre at Hawkes Bay is being run by the fire department with meagre resources at its disposal.

But the KMC is not in charge of all the Karachi beaches. KMC officials said that Karachi’s coastal belt started from Keti Bundar and went right up to Mubarak Village. KMC’s jurisdiction in this area extends to just 27 kilometres.

The remaining 37km stretch is looked after by other authorities, including Port Qasim Authority, Landhi Fish Harbour (near Rehri Goth), Korangi Creek, Cantonment Board Clifton, Defence Housing Authority, Karachi Port Trust, Pakistan Navy, Cantonment Board Manora and Kanupp.