Keamari gas leak: SHC directs SHO, IO and SSP to submit details of investigation

Karachi:   Sindh High Court (SHC) here Thursday directed the SHO, Investigation Officer (IO) and SSP South to appear before the court and give a progress report of their investigation into the case of gas leakage in Keamari area that took many lives in February 2020.

Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor had filed a constitutional petition seeking a probe into this human tragedy.

On the directives of the court the concerned SHO had filed his report; however, the court directed the SHO Jackson, IO and SSP concerned to appear before the court and tell about the investigation they have done so far.

The petitioner, Altaf Shakoor, has submitted in his petition that 14 people lost their lives and hundreds were affected due to the mysterious poisonous gas leak in the port area. He said the federal and provincial authorities failed to protect the lives of citizens and no precautionary measures were taken by the port authorities to prevent the deadly gas leak.

He also said that many people, including women, children and the elderly, died and fell ill due to negligence, carelessness and slackness, without the aid and intervention and preventive measures by the provincial and federal governments and the KPT.

The petitioner’s counsel Irfan Aziz said that the affected people of the area had become so afraid that they left their homes and moved to other areas due to the sheer negligence of the respondents who did not respond and failed to help these citizens of Pakistan.

He said that the arrangement for the off-loading of soya bean is normally carried out at the Port Qasim, but the federal minster concerned and the KPT chairman gave permission and the no-objection certificate to the MV Hercules vessel for the purpose at the Karachi Port without taking any precautionary measures, which resulted in the loss of precious lives of residents of Keamari.

He also said that the federal minister and the KPT chairman did not remove the vessel for four days, which resulted in the mounting death toll, with 14 people losing their lives due to the negligence of the respondents.

He added that the people of the area went to the Jackson police station but the SHO did not lodge an FIR against the federal minister and the KPT chairman for deliberately killing innocent people.

He said the respondents, the University of Karachi and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre have already confirmed through their reports that the victims died due to gas and dust of the off-loaded soya bean.

The counsel requested the court to direct the Sindh police chief to order the registration of an FIR against the federal minister and the KPT chairman in the light of the medical reports.

He also requested that the government announce compensation for the bereaved families as well as provide jobs in the KPT or any other departments to the members of the families that lost their breadwinners. He further asked that MV Hercules be impounded until the disposal of the petition.

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