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WD
Web Desk
September 25, 2010
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Two men killed as their taxi washed away

National

WD
Web Desk
September 25, 2010

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Islamabad
Two men were killed when their taxicab was washed away in the gushing water of Rawal Dam when they were crossing Ashraf Town’s ‘nullah bridge’ on the outskirts of Islamabad in the wee hours of Friday.
The victims were residents of Pindorian.
The locals alleged that the administration of Rawal Dam did not blow any warning siren before opening spillways. According to them, numerous fatal incidents had occurred in the past due to sheer negligence of the Rawal Dam administration. They never warn the locals about opening of the spillways in advance despite repeated requests. They said that around half a million people live in Ashraf Town and Pandorian and they have to cross the ‘nullah bridge’ daily while going to the city and coming back to their homes.
Chief Commissioner (Islamabad) Tariq Mahmood Pirzada, when contacted by ‘The News,’ termed it an unfortunate incident. He said that he had ordered an inquiry to fix the responsibility, as to who opened spillways without permission. He said that he had assigned the assistant commissioner (rural) to submit a report on the tragic incident within 24 hours.
The chief commissioner, quoting preliminary inquiry report, said that the tragic incident occurred because of the negligence of the taxi driver, as he used a shortcut at night to reach the locality. He said that orders had already been given for construction of a bridge in the area to resolve the problem of the locals.
Riaz-ur-Rehman, a relative of the deceased, Shafqat Abbasi and Abdul Hafeez Abbasi, said the two men went out to hire a cab to take their cousin Qamar Abbas to the Benazir Bhutto International Airport who had to leave for Belgium. He said that at around 2 a.m., one of the locals informed them that a taxi was washed away in the nullah water.
“We feared that it might be the same taxi hired by our cousins, as usually no cab comes to the locality late night. We started calling them on their mobile phones, but

their numbers were not responding, so it confirmed the tragedy.”
When asked about the driver of the cab, he said that some people of the locality had informed him that he managed to escape, but he was not sure about it. He said that the dead body of Shafqat Abbasi was taken out by the locals on self-help basis at 9:15 a.m. He was laid to rest in the afternoon, while the search was on for other dead bodies. “We had been calling different government departments for help, but nobody came to retrieve the dead bodies,” Rehman lamented.
Munir Khan, who operates a manual lift over the Ashraf Town’s ‘nullah’, said that the representative of the dam administration used to tell him about the opening of spillways and he consequently informed the locals by making pronouncements through mosque loudspeakers, but they had not been informing him for the last four to five months about it. “A couple of days back, a yellow cab was washed away by the water released from Rawal Dam, but fortunately the driver remained safe. He added that a young boy was washed away a week before.
Rawal Dam Project Director Spillways Muhammad Siddique claimed that they routinely blow the siren for 15 minutes to warn the residents before opening the spillways and they did the same on Thursday night. “We released 3,700 cusecs of water at 12:30 a.m. to maintain the safe capacity of water in the dam, as the reservoir was touching the ‘danger level’ after heavy rainfall in the city Thursday night.” According to him, the released water was not dangerous for the residents as it only caused one foot rise in the level of water already flowing in the nullah.
Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad) Aamir Ali Ahmad, when contacted by ‘The News,’ said that the dam employees should get permission from the district administration of Islamabad, but they didn’t follow the rules. He added that an inquiry had been ordered to ascertain the facts.

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