The death toll was revised down from earlier government statements that at least 60 people had died when the ferry sank in a remote coastal creek near the town of Keti Bandar, southeast of Karachi.
Speaking to reporters, Pakistani navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Salman Ali said later checks revealed that there were 52 people on board the ferry.
"Our divers and rescue teams have recovered 15 bodies. Twenty people are still missing while 17 persons have survived," Ali said.
The cause of the accident was being investigated but it was
thought that the vessel was overloaded.
The accident coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holiday, normally a festive occasion following the Muslim fasting month of
The boat was believed to have been taking people to a shrine to mark the holiday.