KARACHI The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday summoned Advocate General Sindh and Deputy Attorney General to submit comments on a constitutional petition filed by Abdul Mujeeb seeking annulment of the Governments-formed Enquiry Commission to probe into the breaching of Tori Embankment (Bund) till October 8.
Abdul Mujeeb and Assistant Advocate Syed Khalid Shah appeared before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani and Justice Abdul Hadi Khoso and submitted the preliminary arguments.
The Court also jointed the said petition with the prior constitution petition that was jointly filed by former Sindh chief ministers Mum-taz Ali Bhutto, Liaquat Ali Jatoi and other Sindh nationalist leaders seeking formation of a judicial inquiry to assess and determine the illegalities in breaching the dykes of Torri, Ghouspur Loop and BS Feeder.
The petitioner alleged that in order to cover up the issue, an illegal and powerless enquiry commission has been constituted consisting of retired judges of Sindh High Court, who do not have good track record and have remained very friendly with the incumbent Law Minister.
The petitioner also alleged that the procedure of the Enquiry Commission is not transparent and trust inspiriting and violates the principles of natural justice.
He claimed that the members of the Commission are operating behind closed doors and not in open courtroom.
No evidence is being recorded or cross examination is being allowed by the Commission, he submitted.
The plaintiff continued that the procedure adopted by the Government and the commission is illegal, malafide, without lawful authority and violating the principles of natural justice and section 24-A of the General Clauses Act.
He submitted that heavy rains in the catchments areas of River Indus triggered massive floods in the River in the North in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province therefore, a warning was issued to the Government of Sindh by the Flood Commission of Pakistan that a flood of over 1,000,000 cusecs will hit Guddu and Sukkur Barrages after two to three weeks.
He mentioned here that the Irrigation Department has a contingency plan, whereby measures have been suggested to safeguard the safety of Barrages of Sindh in general and Sukkur Barrage in particular.
Under the contingency plan and various articles and Bund Manual and Barrage Manual when the River discharge reaches 1,200,000 cusecs which was a danger mark for the safety of Sukkar Barrage, a breach is to be caused at the old head of Nara River which is located near to village of Ali Wahan of Rohri Taluka of Sukkur district.
The breach causes minimum damage to the people of the province of Sindh because Nara is a natural spillway of River Indus and the extra water is drained in the desert area of Saleh Pat and Nara Talukes of Sukkur and Khairpur districts which are located in the desert area bordering the Union of India.
The plaintiff submitted that Senator Islamuddin Shaikh, MNA Khursheed Shah, Javed Shah and Special Assistant to the Chief Minister Sindh Pehlaj Rai own properties in the area which was likely to be affected in case breach was caused at village Ali Wahan.
Their properties consist of agricultural land, Kiran Sugar Mill, flower mills, ginning factories and petrol pumps.
He accused that the public representatives through a conspiracy breached Tori Embankment deliberately as a pre-emptive measure in order to safeguard the land of the said public representatives, which is located about 80 km, north of Sukkur on the right bank of River Indus. The circumstantial evidence a direct evidence is available with all the leading TV channels and newspapers of the country and there are a number of witnesses who have seen this happening.
He cited the Federation of Pakistan, Sindh government, Secretary Law Department, Secretary Irrigation Department, Federal Law Ministry, Gulam Qurban Soomro and Zahid Qurban Alvi, retired judges of SHC and now members of the Enquiry Commission, as respondents. The petitioner prayed to declare the said Commission as illegal, while the proceedings before the Enquiry Commission be stayed till the decision of the Court. He also pleaded that the members of the Commission be called upon to explain as to under what authority of law they are working as Enquiry Commission and what are its powers and the terms of reference, while the Government of Sindh should be ordered to collect the evidence regarding loss of property of the affected people. He also pleaded that the victims of Tori Bund should be provided compensations.