The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed on Friday the provincial and local authorities to take precautionary measures ahead of the possible heatwave that might hit the province, including Karachi where 1,000 people died last year due to the heat and prolonged power cuts.
Headed by SHC chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, the division bench directed the authorities to submit fortnightly reports on such measures in the future. The bench issued these directives while disposing of a petition filed by civil society activists, who moved the court for a judicial inquiry into the exact number of deaths caused by the heatwave last year and fixing responsibility on persons, including government officials, for failing to take preventive steps to reduce losses. During Friday's proceedings, Advocate Faisal Siddiqui, who represented the petitioners, contended that he had gone through the proposal made by the Sindh government for taking precautionary measures to save the people from the expected heatwave.
At the last hearing, the Karachi commissioner had submitted a plan of action as the meteorological department predicted that this year's heatwave will be of a higher intensity than last year's. The proposal contained suggestions from stakeholders, including suggestions for conserving energy during the summer by K-Electric.
Siddiqui said that the government should be directed to adopt these measures in letter and spirit. Additionally, he said, since such a heatwave is likely to hit the entire province therefore such measures should be taken throughout the province. Additional advocate-general Ghulam Mustafa Mahesar said the government would ensure that such precautionary measures are taken throughout Sindh. In view of the provincial law officer's undertaking, the division bench disposed of the plea.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2016.
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