Upon summoning by the court, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal arrived at Supreme Court’s Karachi registry to appear before the bench hearing the case.
In July, a report submitted to the Supreme Court stated that 90 percent of drinking water samples collected from Karachi were unfit for human consumption and a significant portion was tainted with human waste.
“If you say, we both can go drink and check the quality of water from any stream in Mithi,” Justice Saqib remarked while addressing Murad Shah. He added: “I wish [PPP leader] Bilawal Bhutto Zardari knew of the water situation in Larkana”.
Justice Faisal Arab maintained that people come to courts only when management fails, and said the judiciary has no interest in using the administrative powers.
Cheif Minister Murad Ali Shah claimed that the water crisis was not as extreme as shown by the petitioner, adding that “if I get an opportunity I will show my video [on water situation] to the court”.
He was referring to a short video by petitioner Shahab Usto which was shown earlier in court through a projector.
The chief minister said that the provincial government was working to resolve the issue, however, it was facing shortage of funds.
To this, the chief justice responded that even if the video is set aside, the extremity of the situation can be gauged from the commission’s report into the matter.
About the matter of air pollution, he said it is making life miserable for the masses and deadly diseases like cancer are spreading due to it.
The CJP told Murad Ali Shah that the problem can be fixed in six months with mutual efforts.
Sindh CM replied that the work cannot be done in six months.
The CJP commented that the deadline can be extended upon request, and said the court is aware of fact that contracts are given to the relatives and this practice should end now.
Justice Saqib Nisar affirmed that the apex court was ready to give complete support to Sindh government, but the CM also has to assure the completion of work.
He asked Shah not to get involved in any illegal matter for one year and assured him that this habit will then develop forever.
Education, leadership and implementation on law make the nations successful, remarked Justice Saqib. He also announced to determine the persons responsible behind the bad water situation, but in the second phase.
Later, the apex court adjourned the hearing until December 23, directing the chief minister to submit a written response on the issues facing the government on the matter of water contamination.
He said K-3 and K-4 projects were introduced during his tenure, adding that the projects even after their completion would not meet the city’s water requirement.
Separately, while addressing journalists after the hearing, Kamal said that that Karachi is facing an acute [600 MGD] shortage of drinking water .
He added that the completion date for K-3 and K-4 given by the government is 2018, whereas according to his knowledge, the projects will not be completed even in four-year time.
In the last court proceedings of the case, the chief justice had remarked during the last hearing that those who make tall claims before people have been unable to provide clear drinking water .
“This is a matter of people’s lives, it cannot be ignored. The [Sindh] chief minister will be asked about all the steps he has taken in this regard,” he said.
The chief justice also remarked that the judiciary must intervene when the government fails to fulfil its responsibilities.
When Murad Ali Shah arrived at the court on Wednesday, he was asked by a journalist that whether he was prepared for the case or not. “God will be kind,” Shah had replied.