Provision of clean water government's primary responsibility, observes CJP

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal have reached the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry to appear before a three-member bench hearing the Karachi water pollution case.

Kamal, Shah, and Additional IG Karachi Mushtaq Mahar had been summoned by the bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar today.

In a brief conversation with journalists while entering the court, Kamal said that he will present his stance only in front of the Supreme Court.

As the hearing went under way, the chief justice observed that the water situation in the province is troublesome, adding that the chief minister has been summoned so they can resolve the situation together.

He also remarked that it is the government’s primary responsibility to provide safe and clean drinking water to residents.

“Human waste is purposefully being added to water,” he stated further. “If you say we both can go, drink and check the quality of water from any stream in Mithi.”

Justice Nisar remarked that “I wish [PPP leader] Bilawal Bhutto Zardari knew of the [water] situation in Larkana”.

Justice Faisal Arab also observed that people go to court after witnessing the failure of the government.

Sindh CM says situation not as dire

Sindh Cheif Minister Murad Ali Shah then reached the rostrum and addressed the court.

Shah said that the water crisis is not as extreme as shown by the petitioner, adding that “if I get an opportunity I will show my video to the court”.

He was referring to a short video by petitioner Shahab Usto which was shown earlier in court through a projector.

The chief minister said that the provincial government is working to resolve the issue, however, it is facing a shortage of funds.

To this, the chief justice responded that even if the video is set aside, the extremity of the situation can be gauged from the commission’s report into the matter.

The hearing will resume after a tea break.

‘Matter of people’s lives’

In the last court proceedings of the case, Justice Nisar observed: “This is a matter of people’s lives, it cannot be ignored. The chief minister will be asked about all the steps he has taken in this regard.”
The chief justice also remarked that the judiciary must intervene when the government fails to fulfill its responsibilities.
“There will be no compromise on air and water pollution,” he remarked, adding “the high officials will also be summoned in the case if necessary.”
The bench also summoned Kamal as during his tenure, land reserved for Mehmoodabad water treatment plant was reportedly illegally allotted.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari shared on social media that he is glad that Sindh chief minister will get an opportunity to present the case of PPP government in Supreme Court.
Over the matter, Bilawal tweeted: “1 of biggest crisis affecting all of Pakistan is water. The Sindh Govt has taken practical steps to address this from investing in the most RO plants across the province, linging of our canals and construction of damns. I’m glad CM will get a chance to present our case in SC.”