Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday assured the Supreme Court that his office will come up with a comprehensive plan the provision of clean water to the residents of his province.
The assurance was made during the hearing of a suo motu case and petition regarding provision of clean drinking water to people and the disposal of large quantities of untreated waste water and sewage.
After welcoming the chief minister to court, Justice Nisar said that provincial government should do more in the sectors of health and education. In response to this the chief minister 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.”
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had on Saturday summoned Sharif after the court found a Punjab government report on the provision of clean water unsatisfactory.
The CJP-led three-judge bench, comprising Justices Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Ijazul Ahsan, which heard the case yesterday, summoned the chief minister 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.
Saeed sought time to explain the situation, but CJP Nisar directed him to check if the chief minister was available to appear before the court.
He had also asked Punjab Advocate General Shakilur Rehman Khan to confirm whether the chief minister was going to appear in court.
CJP Nisar said during the hearing that the court would also ask Sharif under what laws the roads outside his Model Town residence and office had been closed to the public.
CJP takes suo motu notice of Punjab police ‘encounters’
During the hearing, the chief justice also took suo motu notice of Punjab police’s encounters 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 said that the report should be submitted within seven days.
Removal of barriers foutside CM house, other residences
While Shahbaz was present in court, the chief minister ordered that the barriers outside the chief minister house, the Jati Umrah residence, passport office and the Model Town residence be removed.
“Why have police officials kept you scared,” the chief justice said while suggesting that Shahbaz should interact with the public more.