LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif appeared before the Supreme Court Sunday in polluted water case during which chief justice also ordered to remove barriers from Sharif’s residences and Governor House immediately.
The apex court on Saturday had sought personal appearance of Punjab chief minister after it came to fore that millions of gallons of contaminated water is being drained into River Ravi daily.
A three member bench led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu notice into provision of clean water at the Supreme Court’s Lahore Registry. The chief minister was summoned after the apex court expressed its reservations over a report presented on dumping 540 MGD of untreated waste into River Ravi. Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Justice Ijazul Ahsan were the other members of the bench.
At the outset of the hearing, the court-appointed commission, Ayesha Hamid Advocate, presented a report on clean water. The report contained shocking revelations, including a detailed study which says 540 million gallons of polluted water is being dumped into the river on a daily basis. It stated that 480 million gallons of sewerage and 60 million gallons from other sources was also being drained into the river. This irked the chief justice who remarked, “Lahore is the heart of Pakistan. Look what is being dumped into the heart.”
The chief justice said if the court could summon the Sindh chief minister on the issue, why it couldn’t do the same to his counterpart in Punjab. He ordered Shahbaz to appear instantly to explain as to what steps have been taken to treat the sewerage. “The Punjab chief minister should come to court and tell us what the provincial government is doing to address this issue.” He asked Chief Secretary Capt (retd) Zahid Saeed to confirm whether Shahbaz was available to appear before the court, saying, “It is a prerogative of the chief minister. In case he is not willing to appear, the court will have to issue some other order.” “The chief minister should come today if he can, if not, he may appear before the court tomorrow,” said the chief justice. The chief secretary tried to contact the chief minister in compliance with the court’s order. Later, he informed the court that Shahbaz could not appear before the court on Saturday (yesterday) due to some official engagements. Following that, the court ordered the chief minister to appear in person on Sunday (today) at 11.00 am.