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Pakistan fishermen fear a ‘new Dubai’ could empty their nets November 04,2020   |  Source: Reuters

In the quarrel over building a gleaming “new Dubai” on two small islands off the Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan, the voices of the fishermen who have plied these waters for centuries often go unheard.

Steering his boat out of the Jamote jetty in the village of Ebrahim Haideri, 25-year-old fisherman Shakil said the islands around which he catches fish, crab and shrimp are now patrolled by armed guards.

“We have been fishing in these waters for centuries,” said Shakil, who did not want to give his full name. But when he tried to go near the island of Dingi recently he was apprehended by guards and ordered to get into the “murgha” stress position, he said.

“If we did not do it they said they would hit us with batons,” he said.

A month ago, the twin islands of Bundal and Dingi at the mouth of Korangi Creek in Karachi were taken over by the federal government through an overnight presidential ordinance.

With an investment of about $50 billion, the government aims to develop a city that will “surpass Dubai” and create 150,000 jobs, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said at a news conference in Islamabad earlier this month.

But fisherfolk say the development on the islands — spread over 49 square kilometres — could destroy their livelihoods and that

 

© 2020, DAWN

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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