Judicial commission submits report after six-week-long fact-finding mission

SC-formed commission was investigating sanitation condition, water supply in Sindh


Naeem Sahoutara February 25, 2017
The judicial commission was set up by the Supreme Court to investigate claims of poor sanitation conditions and lack of clean water supply in Sindh. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: A judicial commission investigating allegations of non-supply of clean drinking water and deteriorating sanitation conditions in Sindh has submitted its report to the Supreme Court (SC), judicial sources told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
They said Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro of the Sindh High Court, who was appointed as inquiry commissioner, had sent the report to the apex court for perusal of the two-judge bench, which had formed the commission.
The judicial commission's report is likely to be discussed during the hearing of the case, expected to be held in the first week of March at the Karachi Registry, said petitioner Shahab Usto, on whose proposal the commission was set-up.

Judicial commission to probe water scarcity

The apex court's bench, comprising justices Amir Hani Muslim and Mushir Alam, had formed the commission on December 27 last year while hearing a petition regarding non-supply of clean drinking water, deteriorating sanitation conditions and its impact on the environment in the province at the SC's Karachi Registry.
It had set up terms and conditions for the inquiry for the commission, which was directed to conduct day-to-day proceedings and complete the same within six weeks.

Terms of reference
According to the terms of reference, the commission was to record its findings regarding provision and supply of clean water to the residents of Sindh besides the condition of sanitation in the province.
The commission was also supposed to examine the statutory role played by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency on the issues mandated by the Sindh Environmental Protection Act, 2014.
The commission was also supposed to examine the officials or material from relevant agencies or organisations inclusive of all the civic and land-owning agencies. The federal government, Sindh government or any organisation under their control was directed to cooperate with the said commission.

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The commission was formed to 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 was supposed to hold the inquiry on a day-to-day basis and would exercise all the powers of a high court judge, inclusive of the powers conferred under the Code of Civil Procedure.

Proceedings and inspections
The sources said the commission had initiated proceedings on January 2 but it could not complete the same within the deadline, adding that the SC extended its time by one week at the request of its head.
During the proceedings, Justice Kalhoro sought, through the district and sessions judges, the details of the development schemes or projects launched by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government in the last five years, their budgetary allocations, expenditures and the current status of such projects.

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The commission had also sought details such as the audit of hundreds of reverse osmosis plants installed by the government to overcome the water shortage, the solid waste management system, the sanitation staff and finances of all the district municipal corporations in the province and workout plan to dispose of solid waste as well as hazardous and toxic industrial waste.
The inquiry commissioner had also visited different cities to inspect the factual position at the main water sources, including rivers, canals and sewage filtration plants. During the proceedings, the commission had taken on record the details submitted by the federal and provincial functionaries, the industries owners' associations, the provincial environmental protection agency, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, all the district municipal corporations, Karachi's water and sanitation authority's chairperson, Sindh Building Control Authority's director-general and others.

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