Water solution is SC’s top priority now: Chief Justice


—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Finding a solution to water crisis is the Supreme Court’s top priority now, said Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday.

He was hearing the case regarding environmental pollution at the Supreme Court. According to Justice Sardar Tariq, solution to water crisis and construction of dams was the priority of no political party.

The court fixed the hearing of the Kalabagh Dam case in the coming week. It also ordered that all the cases regarding water crises and construction of dams be fixed for hearing.

All petitions regarding Karachi’s water crisis will be heard at the top court’s Karachi registry on Saturday.

“Scarcity of water is the biggest crisis for the country,” remarked the CJ. “River Neelum will dry up due to Kishanganga Dam.”

He summoned former WAPDA chairpersons Shamsul Mulk and Zafar Mehmood to assist the court in solving the water crisis.

“I have said many times that water issues are extremely serious,” said the CJ. “If we can’t give water to our children, we can’t give them anything.”

The petitioner said that he has been fighting the case for Kalabagh Dam for the past 20 years. He said that the promise of dams should be made mandatory for all the parties before they contest the election. No dam was built in 48 years, he said.

According to him, a referendum on Kalabagh Dam should be held alongside the upcoming election. “The referendum slip should be given along with the ballot paper,” he said.

The CJ told him not to confuse the election. “The survival of Pakistan depends on water,” said the top judge. “I will do whatever is in my capacity to fix this issue.”

According to reports by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan will reach absolute water scarcity by the year 2025. Water shortage is common in Pakistan, especially in port city Karachi, where summer months bring about increased power cuts coupled with severe water shortage. Heatwaves aggravate the problems and protests often break out over water deprivation.

Meanwhile, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has taken notice of the acute shortage of water supply throughout the country and has fixed the matter in Court with regard to referred problem at Islamabad and subsequently at respective Branch Registries with regard to such water shortage at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. The matter regarding scarcity of water supply in Islamabad has been fixed in Court on 7th June, 2018.

Moreover, notices have been issued to Attorney General for Pakistan, Advocate General, Islamabad, Secretary CADD, Mayor, Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad, Chief Commissioner, Islamabad and Chairman CDA.—NNI