Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar, on Tuesday, expressed sorrow in light of the conditions prevailing in the province of Sindh.
He made the comments during a hearing regarding non-functioning water filtration and treatment plants. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Former Mayor-Karachi Mustafa Kamal have also been summoned.
“The situation [in Sindh] is very painful for me,” he said. “Human waste is being used in drinking water.”
Chiding Shah for the incompetence of Sindh Government in providing clean drinking water, CJP asked if he [CM Sindh] was ready to drink the water. “We can drink this bottle of dirty water whenever you want.”
The prosecutor presented court with a video showing the current state of treatment plants in Karachi. The CJP commented that the video presented in the courtroom should be televised by all media channels to spread awareness among the masses.
However, CM Sindh rejected the video saying that it exaggerated the conditions. “If I get the opportunity, I will present another video to court very soon,” said Shah.
Responding to Shah, CJP remarked that the CM Sindh may reject the video but he should read the commission report. “Review the gravity of the situation by reading the commission report,” said CJP. “Try to find solutions through it.”
“Do not take this negatively,” the CJP said as he offered SC’s help to the Sindh government but asked Shah to guarantee productiveness. “We will find out who was responsible for past mistakes in the next phase.”
Justice Faisal Arab observed that no cases against Sindh Government were filed during previous government. “People turn to court after witnessing failure of government,” he remarked. “We are here to find solutions.”
“I wish Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto was present here to see and become aware of the situation in Larkana,” said CJP. “You are an elected leader. Only those nations succeed that believe in knowledge, leadership, and law.”
Observing that the drinking water issue was a provincial one, Justice Nisar ordered CM Sindh to resolve the problem. “What future will we offer to our children if we provide them water with human waste?”
“Please tell us how long will you take to find a solution, one week or 10 days?” CJP asked CM Sindh. He said once the plan was outlined, the SC court and government can work together to solve the problem in six months. But Shah responded that the matter cannot be solved within six months.
Justice Nisar commented that SC will extend the period if Shah presented court with a timeline. He said the SC was aware of the corruption in the processes but had chosen to “not indulge” in accusations. “Give us a plan, and we will cooperate with you.”
In his response, the chief minister said he has been working to change the work culture and requested to be given some more time for it to show.
“We do not want to step on the government,” the CJP noted. “We are playing a constitutional role in public interest. Whenever there will be a void, the judiciary will continue to fill it.”
In August, a report submitted to the judicial commission constituted by the SC to investigate authorities’ failure to provide clean drinking water and poor sanitation conditions in Sindh, headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, found up to 90 per cent of water supplied in Karachi is unfit for human consumption due to the presence of bacterial contamination.
The report was based on laboratory analysis of water samples collected from surface and underground water sources from different parts of the metropolis.