Karachi reserves graveyards for COVID-19 victims

In this file photo, employees of the Edhi center lay unidentified bodies to rest at the Edhi graveyard in Karachi on June 8, 2011. (REUTERS)
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Updated 31 March 2020

Karachi reserves graveyards for COVID-19 victims

  • The government is acquiring land from private housing societies to enhance the capacity of five graveyards in the city
  • Eight people have so far died in Sindh while 294 have been infected by the virus in Karachi alone

KARACHI: Fearing a spike in the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in Pakistan’s commercial hub, Karachi, have reserved five cemeteries for the victims of the virus, officials told Arab News on Wednesday.
“Today 45 new cases of local transmission have been reported in Karachi, which has taken the total number of patients in the province of Sindh to 627,” Meeran Yousuf, spokesperson for the health department, told Arab News, adding that COVID-19 had affected 294 people in Karachi alone and a majority of them had contracted the infection locally.
So far, health officials in Sindh have confirmed eight virus-related deaths in the province.
The places reserved for the burial of coronavirus victims are: Muhammad Shah, Surjani, Mawach Goth, Qur’angi No. 6 and Gulshan-e-Zia graveyards.
“To cope with the situation, we have reserved five graveyards for the burial of coronavirus victims,” Wasim Akhter, mayor of Karachi, told Arab News, adding that the designated graveyards had the capacity of 1,000 to 5,000 graves.
However, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s director graveyards, Iqbal Pervez, said that the designated cemeteries were already full and their capacity was being enhanced.
Karachi has 203 graveyards, and many of them have run out of space, he informed, adding: “We are trying prepare ourselves for a situation where we may have to accommodate a large number of coronavirus victims by negotiating with private housing societies and requesting them to add some of their reserved lands to these graveyards.”
Karachi is a metropolis of 15 million people, though the figure was disputed by various stakeholders after the 2017 census who claimed it was deliberately under-reported and could be as high as 23 million.
The city reported the first coronavirus case of the country in the last week of February and is now reporting the largest number of cases of local transmission.
Karachi is also called the country’s economic engine and is currently under lockdown.


Waqar urges Afridi and Gambhir to end social media war

Updated 01 June 2020

Waqar urges Afridi and Gambhir to end social media war

  • Both involved in heated social media exchanges over the troubled Kashmir region
  • Gambhir is now a lawmaker in the Indian parliament, while Afridi has his own foundation and is a vocal activist

New Delhi: Former Pakistan star Waqar Younis has called on Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir to end their social media war, and for India and Pakistan to resume playing cricket.
After being fierce on-field rivals, Pakistan’s Afridi and former Indian opener Gambhir have become involved in heated social media exchanges over the troubled Kashmir region, which is claimed by both countries.
Gambhir is now a lawmaker in the Indian parliament, while Afridi has his own foundation and is a vocal activist.
Waqar advised the pair to “calm down” in an online chat show.
“The banter between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi has been going on for a while now. I think they both got to be smart, sensible, and calm down,” said Waqar.
“It has been going on for way too long. My advice to them is to maybe catch up somewhere around the world and talk it out if you cannot really calm it down.”
India and Pakistan have not played a series since 2012-2013 and have hit a new peak in tensions over Kashmir, which they have fought over since their independence in 1947.
India frequently accuses Pakistan of organizing militant attacks in the sector of the Himalayan region that it administers.
Waqar, 48, said a cricket series would boost relations between the arch-rival neighbors.
“I think that it would be the biggest hit of the world,” said Waqar.
“I think Pakistan (and) India should play, and should play on a regular basis to avoid depriving cricket lovers.”