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Grave, not a safe place anymore in Karachi!

14 November, 2011

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KARACHI: The graveyards, which are supposed to be the sanctities for Muslims, have become vulnerable to all sorts of illicit activities. As religious and cultural norms, the people, who used to visit cemeteries and offer Fateha for their beloved ones, went in hysteria when they saw that the remnants of their relatives were exhumed from the graveyard located near Gulshan-e-Maymar.

The incident of graves profanation has traumatised the already depressed Karachiites where over 35 bodies of their beloved ones were exhumed for inexcusable crimes.

Although the police had arrested two brothers, who were allegedly involved in lifting bodies from graves for black magic, there is no provision in Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to grant maximum punishment to them. The state could only grant a maximum of one-year imprisonment under Section 297 to the person who is accused of desecrating graves.

The law should be rectified in order to maximise the punishment, which will help the authorities to avoid such incidents in near future. Despite the fact that this illicit activity has been continuing for long as the accused persons confessed to have been involved in it for over almost two decades, the society at large is a firm believer of periapts, black magic etc, and are used to of finding solutions of their problems through the said means, which not only encourages such activities but also reflect the mindsets of the society.

The illegal business goes on reportedly in connivance with the police, which, at times, make false raids to apprehend them.

According to another report, the monthly income of some gravediggers amounts to Rs 80,000. The citizens pay Rs1,500 up to Rs 6,000 plus (the figure varies from locality to locality) instead of the nominal charges mentioned in the bylaws approved by the city council last year. The gravediggers not only sell a grave to more than one customers, but are also involved in the sale of its parts, including tombstones and sand blocks. This business has considerably improved their financial status and they own big houses and shops. There are 182 graveyards in Karachi. Of them, 163 are for Muslims and 19 of non-Muslims. Seventy fall under the control of City District Government Karachi, while 112 are looked after by other associations. Seventeen, including Mewashah, PECHS (Tariq Road), Paposh Nagar, Sakhi Hassan (North Nazimabad), Essa Nagri (Hassan Square), Shah Faisal Colony Gate (Colony Gate), Saudabad (Malir) graveyards have been officially declared full.

Despite acquiring 579.89 acres of land and allocating funds in every budget, the last city government failed to establish any new graveyard. The encroachers' mafia is also active on the land earmarked for this purpose in Malir and Gadap towns and once there was a report of city government officials being beaten up when they came here for demarcation.

End.

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