Islamabad - The Upper House of the Parliament on Monday took strong notice of a report of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) about the supply of contaminated water in the limits of federal capital territory, besides discussing the failure of Capital Development Authority to remove encroachments in Islamabad.

Speaking on two different motions moved on private member’ day, the lawmakers severely criticised the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for its failure to solve civic issues of residents of capital. Chairman Senate Nayyer Hussain Bokhari said that the authority was being run through bureaucracy without having public representation since the establishment of Islamabad.

The mover of the first motion about supply of contaminated water to Islamabad Capital territory (ICT), Senator Saifullah Magsi from opposition benches said that supply of clean drinking water to citizens was an important issue and basic responsibility of the government. He quoted the report of PCRWR and said that 54 per cent samples of water in ICT were unsafe for drinking that is affecting 70 per cent of population. “Safe drinking water is available only to 15 per cent population living in urban areas of Islamabad and 7 per cent to rural areas,” he said while quoting the report. Magsi said that arsenic has also been found in the samples of water from Islamabad that is major cause of cancer.

Senator M Hamza said, “If this was the situation in the capital area then what will be the state of affairs in other parts of the country.” Taj Haider remarked that bottled lobby in the country was creating hurdles to provide safe drinking water to common people. State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab endorsed that there were some complaints of mixing of sewerage water with the clean drinking water and added that steps would be taken to provide clean drinking to the citizens of capital.

Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari questioned what action the government had taken on the basis of this report and whether some penalty had been imposed on any government body.

He said that there was no specific law for pure food for ICT and the previous laws were not updated.

Senator Talha Mahmood speaking on his motion about the removal of encroachments in the commercial and residential areas of Islamabad said that these encroachments were causing nuisance for general masses. Chairman Bokhari remarked that when policy makers will not take decision on such issues, people would ultimately go to the courts. He said that capital was being run without any public representation since its establishment and such issues exist, as bureaucracy was not answerable to the masses.The chair later refereed the issues of clean drinking water and encroachments to the committees concerned. Saifullah Magsi on another motion about the performance of NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) in the wake of floods in September 2014 said that that NDMA had failed to invest in human resource as well as to mitigate national disasters.

The chair also referred that amendment moved by Senator Zahid Khan in the Senate Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012 to amend sub-rule (1) of rule 198 to omit words “ in consultation with the minister concerned’. The rule says that any chairman of the Senate standing committee will summon the meeting in consultation with the minister concerned.

The amendment was referred to the standing committee concerned. Zahid Khan said that committees’ meetings could not be summoned as ministers resist taking benefit of this rule. He alleged that ministers dictate committees while federal minister Mushahid Ullah Khan rebutted his remarks.