Gadani tragedy suspicion falls on smuggling


Gadani tragedy suspicion falls on smuggling KARACHI: A new course of investigations is expected into the Gadani accident, which claimed more than 25 lives, as officials of two ministries have raised questions in their initial findings about the presence in the vessel of lubricants and petroleum products apparently smuggled into the country in the garb of ship-breaking.

According to an official, a committee formed by the government, which was headed by Defence Production Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain and included members from his ministry and the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, had found “enough evidence” which raised “serious doubts” about the motive for bringing to Gadani for dismantling the huge oil tanker that met with the deadly accident.

“It was not rocket science to reach such a conclusion,” Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo told Dawn on Friday. “A layman can tell that the fire which erupted in the ship and took days to be put off was not due to any nominal quantity of petroleum and lubricant products. It was huge in terms of quantity and the question is why it was in a huge quantity. The report of the committee has been forwarded to the prime minister and it would not be appropriate to disclose its findings, but obviously doubts have been cast and questions have been raised.”

He replied in the affirmative when asked about the possibility of widening the scope of the investigations to include the doubts about the alleged smuggling of petroleum products that could lead to questioning of officials of the institutions concerned along with the stakeholders of the ship-breaking industry that contributes about Rs12 billion per annum to the national economy.

As the minister confirmed the completion of the investigation report of the committee, the National Com­mission for Human Rights (NCHR) demanded that the findings be made public.

It also sought immediate release of compensation for the families of those who lost their lives in the incident and for the injured.


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