ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday said 5 million houses cannot be constructed through an announcement and that even when a cage for pigeons is made the number of birds which will reside in it are considered.
The chief justice’s remarks came as he heard a case regarding informal settlements across the country. A report was submitted before the bench headed by Justice Nisar regarding informal settlements in Balochistan.
As the hearing went under way, the chief justice remarked, “It is the government’s job to provide facilities in informal settlements. There are a lot of loopholes in informal settlements and something needs to be done about this.”
Justice Nisar then directed the additional attorney general to present recommendations regarding removing informal settlements in Islamabad. “You still have not given data regarding informal settlements in the capital,” he said.
The chief justice further told the additional attorney general, “Tell the prime minister to set a time to visit informal settlements with me and see the conditions over there.”
“I have visited informal settlements in Lahore, tell the premier to go himself and see the conditions the people are living in over there,” Justice Nisar said while adding that the prime minister is the chief executive of the country. “Tell him to give me a time and we will go together,” he continued.
Justice Nisar further lamented, “Black water streams are running through the informal settlements and they are not livable.”
The additional attorney general informed the bench, “The issue of informal settlements will be resolved soon as the premier has announced a 5 million housing scheme.”
Responding to his comments, Justice Nisar said, “Construction of the houses will take time as 5 million houses need to be made not your aunt’s house. Even when a cage for pigeons is made the number of birds which will reside in it are considered.”
Further, the chief justice remarked, “What has been done since 1996? And then they say change has come.”
Stating that official housing is misused, Justice Nisar remarked, “Retired officers do not vacate government houses.”
He further directed the additional attorney general to “inform the premier that safeguarding fundamental rights is his responsibility.”
“Five million houses will not be constructed through an announcement,” he asserted.
Following this, the Sindh additional advocate general informed the bench that there are laws for informal settlements in the province. Responding to him, Justice Nisar said, “Take me to the informal settlements in Sindh and the provincial chief minister has to accompany me or state that people living in informal settlements are ants or don’t have basic rights.”
The bench then directed law and justice commission’s recommendations be sent to the provinces and ordered the provincial governments to submit a reply within four weeks.