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.

Israel has become India’s ‘coach’ in how to oppress Kashmiris - Pakistani President

Updated 05 July 2020

Israel has become India’s ‘coach’ in how to oppress Kashmiris - Pakistani President

  • Alvi says India disenfranchising people of Kashmir by following in the footsteps of Israel and its occupation of the West Bank
  • Pakistan has long supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinain conflict

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi said in a television interview aired on Sunday that India was following in Israel’s footsteps in oppressing the people of Indian-administered Kashmir just as Israel had disenfranchised Palestinians. 

The Indian government in August revoked the constitutional autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, splitting it into two federal territories in a bid to integrate it fully with India.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war twice over it, and both rule parts of it. India’s portion has been plagued by separatist violence since the late 1980s.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians and much of the world view settlements that Israel has built in captured territory as illegal, which Israel disputes.

“If we see Israel’s oppression against Palestinians, it [Israel] has become their [India’s] coach as far as Kashmir is concerned,” Alvi said in an interview to Pakistani channel Geo News.

“The way Israel is occupying the West Bank and in all these things… and in terms of the population, the way it is disenfranchising [Palestinians] … India made a law and started doing the same in Kashmir.”

Referring to recent viral photos from Kashmir of a three-year-old boy sitting on the corpse of his dead grandfather killed by Indian security forces, Alvi said: “It’s so painful … A three year old child, sitting on his grandfather’s stomach. These images are the kind that will shake the world.”

Last month, the Pakistani foreign office reiterated its official stance of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as envisaged by the United Nations.

“Pakistan continues to support a just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, through dialogue and negotiations, that leads to the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination,” the foreign office spokeswoman had said.