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Monday, June 10, 2024

19 women killed as wedding boat capsizes in South Punjab

"Most of the drowned appear to be women" because "most of the men knew how to swim".

At least 19 women drowned and dozens more people are missing after an overcrowded boat carrying a Pakistan wedding party capsized on Monday, officials said.

The boat was ferrying about 100 members of one family across the Indus river in a marriage procession between the villages of Machka and Kharor in the Sadiqabad subdistrict of Punjab province, according to police and local authorities.

Nineteen women were “confirmed dead” and 25 to 30 people “were either rescued by locals who live along the river or managed to swim ashore”, according to Sadiqabad spokesman Rana Kashif Mehmood.

“Rescue teams are at the scene,” he said.

Police officer Mohammad Hammad said “most of the drowned appear to be women” because “most of the men knew how to swim”.

“The death toll may increase,” he said.

Villagers in rural Pakistan often use boats to travel, avoiding the higher costs of automobile transport on ramshackle roads that are often far from their homes.

Read more: Wedding hall becomes battleground as relatives fight for food

But women are not widely encouraged to learn how to swim in Pakistan, where conservative modesty codes still govern much of of their public behaviour.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk