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Karachi

April 21, 2017

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Ensure affected families are compensated at the earliest, SHC orders federal govt

Ensure affected families are compensated at the earliest, SHC orders federal govt

The Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the federal government to pay compensation to the families of missing Pakistani crew members of the Iranian-flagged cargo ship, MV Jouya-8, as soon as possible.

The federal government, as per the court orders, has been told to immediately process the compensation claims of the Pakistani crew members who were onboard the Iranian ship when it went missing on December 11.

Earlier on March 29, the court had issued the same direction to the ports and shipping ministry and a shipping agent.

The directives came on a petition seeking an inquiry into the death of six Pakistanis crew members of another ship in Yemen and rescuing the remaining ones.

The petitioner, the Ansar Burney Trust, submitted in the petition that a cargo ship having a Pakistani crew was hit by a missile off the coast of Mukha in Yeman. Six Pakistanis were reportedly killed and others were still missing.

The petitioner submitted that in another incident, an Iranian cargo ship, MV Jouya-8, carrying six Pakistanis, was missing since December 11.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that families of the Pakistani crew were not receiving a positive response from government officials.

The court was requested to direct the foreign ministry to use its resources to locate the missing Pakistani crew of MV Jouya-8. 

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the families of the missing crew were facing great hardships in receiving salaries and other benefits from shipping agents and the government was not taking any steps for ascertaining their whereabouts.

The court was informed that under clause 20 of the government article of the agreement signed by each crew member, in case a ship went missing or was not located for 90 days since its last port call, the ship would be considered sunk, its crew assumed drowned and the owner of the ship liable to pay all dues and death compensation to the heirs.

The counsel requested the court to direct the shipping agent to process the compensation claims of the crew members’ families.

The licensee of the shipping agent Arabian Marine Service submitted that the process of compensation would be initiated soon as when the ministry would notify it about the crewmembers went missing or dead. Shipping master Masood Ahmed assured the court that needful would carried out within seven days.

The SHC division bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi directed the government and the shipping agent to process the compensation claim expeditiously and ensure that the families were paid in the shortest possible time.

The court observed that the government and other authorities should continue making all efforts possible to ensure the rescue of the missing crew.

The court was earlier informed that ship was attacked by a rocket in Red Sea and it had sunk near the port of Hodeida which was under control of Houthi rebels and the whereabouts of Kabir Khadim Hussain, who communicated the incident to the owner of the ship, could not be traced.

The petitioner’s counsel also filed a list of crewmembers along with the affidavits of their relatives.

The missing crewmembers are Syed Anisur Rehman (captain), Mohammad Shoaib (chief engineer), Mohammad Ibrahim Soomro (electrician), Kabir Khadim Hussain (chief officer), Sohail Ahmed (crewmember), Mohammad Hanif (filter welder) and Abdul Razak (cook).

 

Plea against harassment

The SHC has issued notices to the federal and provincial law officers to file comments on the petition filed by Dr Nisar Morai, former chairman of the Fishermen Cooperative Society and leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, against harassment by law enforcement officials. 

Petitioner’s counsel Haq Nawaz Talpur submitted that his client had been released on bail by the courts in different cases, but law enforcers were harassing the petitioner and his family members.

He said the petitioner was willing to cooperate with the investigation agencies and requested the court to direct the government to provide details of any cases pending against him.

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