Judicial commission to probe water scarcity

Commission formed by bench hearing petition seeking clean water, safe environment for residents of Sindh


Naeem Sahoutara December 31, 2016

KARACHI: A judicial commission appointed by the Supreme Court (SC) will start its proceedings from January 2 into the allegations of non-provision of clean drinking water to the residents and deteriorating sanitary conditions in the province.

Judicial sources told The Express Tribune on Friday that the inquiry commission will be headed by a sitting judge of the Sindh High Court, Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, who will conduct proceedings on a day-to-day basis.

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Earlier, SHC Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah appointed Justice Kalhoro in compliance with the order passed by a two-judge bench of the apex court at the SC’s Karachi Registry on December 27. The bench, comprising justices Amir Hani Muslim and Mushir Alam, was hearing a petition seeking provision of clean drinking water and safe environment for the residents of Sindh.

An official notification issued by the SHC Registrar’s Office said CJ Sajjad Ali Shah in compliance with the SC’s order had appointed a commission of inquiry consisting of Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro. The commission will conduct inquiry under the terms of reference already set by the SC and submit a report on its findings to the apex court within six weeks.

According to the terms of reference, the commission will record its findings regarding provision and supply of clean water to the residents of Sindh besides the deteriorating condition of sanitation in Sindh.

The commission will also examine the statutory role played by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency on the issues mandated by the Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014.

The commission will also examine the officials or material from relevant agencies or organisations inclusive of all the civic and land-owning agencies. The federal government, the Sindh government or any organisation under their control shall cooperate with the said commission.

'Water scarcity will cause food crisis'

The commission will look into the aforesaid issues and record its findings in detail in the proposed report within six weeks from the date of its notification. It shall hold the inquiry on a day-to-day basis. As a commission, it shall exercise all the powers of a high court judge, inclusive of the powers conferred under the Code of Civil Procedure.

The CJ also appointed the additional member inspection team-II (MIT-II) of the SHC, Ghulam Mustafa Channa, as registrar to the inquiry commission, read another notification. Judicial sources said that the commission has issued notices to the provincial chief secretary, the secretaries of the law, environment, local government and public health engineering departments and the director-general of the Environmental Protection Agency to personally appear before the court along with their written comments.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2016.

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