Judiciary intervenes when executive fails: Chief Justice of Pakistan

The CJP said that “judiciary judges on merit only, without prejudices”, adding that good work is appreciated as well.

Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar has said that judiciary has to intervene when government fails to fulfill its constitutional duties.

He said this during a hearing on the provision of clean water to the citizens at the apex court’s Karachi Registry on Monday, Express News reported.

Expressing concern over government’s inadequate response, the CJP summoned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday, and former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday.

Nisar said the former mayor would have to answer how 50-acre land was illegally allocated to certain persons out of 129 acres reserved for a treatment plant in Mehmoodabad neighborhood of the metropolis.

In his remarks, Nisar reiterated that providing clean water and a healthy environment was the responsibility of the government. “When the government fails to fulfill its responsibilities, judiciary has to intervene,” he added.

“The rich import water from abroad whereas dirty water is for the poor,” he remarked.

A one-man inquiry commission appointed by the Supreme Court published the report which regretted that quality of drinking water in Sindh has gone from bad to worse as the provincial government has not managed to bring about any improvements in this regard.

“In a democratic system, judiciary has the status of a guardian… if any pillar of the state does not function, we will hold it accountable,” the Chief Justice said in his latest hearing on the matter.

The commission comprising Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro of the Sindh High Court submitted a report on the matter to the Supreme Court on July 14, which was taken up by the court’s three-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam on Sept 7.

Later, the bench decided to make the report public and requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to set up a special bench to hear the matter because it involved examining the voluminous report thoroughly.

The report said that Sindh government had not made clear its intention to install new filtration plants to overcome current and future deficiencies in the sector. Nothing substantial had been done by the government to remove encroachments from the Effluent Treatment Plant-II, Mehmoodabad, Karachi, despite the order of the Supreme Court.

The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had also ostensibly failed to stop contamination of coastal water of Karachi which was being degraded due to constant discharge into it of untreated industrial effluent.

The CJP said that “judiciary judges on merit only, without prejudices”, adding that good work is appreciated as well.

He said a video received from Water Commission had been sent to Sindh Assembly speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, but it wasn’t shown to the lawmakers. “We know our authority, we will send the video to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to broadcast it on every channel.”

CJP Nisar said he will not question any government officer but the chief ministers of Sindh and Punjab, adding that the condition in Punjab was the same as rivers had turned toxic.

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