Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday told the Supreme Court (SC) that his office would formulate a comprehensive plan for the provision of clean water to citizens of Lahore.
Sharif gave his assurances to a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, which had summoned the Punjab CM to explain his government's position regarding the provision of clean drinking water to citizens, and the disposal of large quantities of untreated waste water and sewage, as the court heard a suo motu case and petition on the same.
A court commission earlier told the SC bench, comprising Justices Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Ijazul Ahsan, at the Lahore registry that alarming quantities of untreated waste water produced by the provincial capital was being disposed off in the River Ravi.
The CJP-led bench had on Saturday summoned CM Shahbaz as Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed had no satisfactory response when Advocate Ayesha Hamid, the head of the court commission looking into the matter, told the court that 540 million gallons of untreated waste water or sewage were being discharged in the river daily.
“Why should the chief minister not be summoned right now to explain what is happening in his Takht-i-Lahore?” the CJP had asked the chief secretary.
After welcoming the chief minister to court today, Justice Nisar said that the provincial government should do more in the sectors of health and education.
In response to the CJP's remarks, CM Shahbaz said that he would make sure his office comes up with a comprehensive plan for water treatment and the provision of clean water to the residents of the province.
Earlier, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who was also present in court, spoke to the media and said, "The provision of clean drinking water to the people is important, but the provision of justice is more important."
During the hearing, the chief justice took suo motu notice of fake encounters staged allegedly by the Punjab police and ordered that the chief secretary to provide the court the details of all encounters that took place in the past one year.
Justice Nisar rejected the home secretary's request for 10 days to compile the report and ordered him to submit the report within a week's time.
While Shahbaz was present in court, the CJP ordered that all the barriers outside CM House, the Sharif family's Jati Umrah residence, the passport office and Shahbaz's Model Town residence be removed.
"Why have police officials made you afraid?" the chief justice said, suggesting that Shahbaz should interact more with the public.