Pakistan drying up yet no govt rep attended water symposium, says CJP


–Justice Nisar says ‘no justification for charging a meagre amount from mineral water companies’  


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed his displeasure over the absence of government representatives at the recently held conference on water scarcity organised by the Supreme Court (SC), saying the country was drying up yet no one from the government showed interest in the crucial event.

The CJP said this while hearing a suo motu case on bottled water.

The Punjab advocate general submitted a report to the three-judge bench which stated that the Punjab government has divided the use of water into three categories; to extract water from areas facing water scarcity, mineral water companies have to pay Rs0.75 per litre whereas, in areas where there is no shortage of water, the companies are required to pay Rs0.15 per litre.

To this, the chief justice remarked that it seems “they have put the donkey in the well, it would rather be better not to take any money at all”.

Expressing his anger at the report, Justice Nisar noted that a certain company sold off billions of rupees worth of water by acquiring six acres of land in Sheikhupura.

“Mineral water companies are themselves quoting Rs0.50-0.75, these rates are not acceptable; there is no justification for charging such a meagre amount,” the top judge remarked.

Towards the end of the hearing, the court summoned the Punjab chief secretary and local government secretary on Monday, ordering a forensic audit of mineral water companies with a report to be submitted on a weekly basis in the court.

The court also summoned Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretaries on Tuesday and ordered the Sindh chief secretary to appear before the Karachi registry.