ISLAMABAD - Authorities in Rawalpindi are investigating the water in the city’s main reservoir after tons of dead fish were found in Rawal Lake.

Police have registered a case against unknown mafia residing around Rawal Lake for allegedly mixing poison into the water that killed a large number of fish, sources said on Saturday.

The case has been registered with Secretariat police station against unknown mafia under sections 277 and 429 of PPC on the application of Fisheries Deputy Director Muhammad Sadiq Buzdar, they said.

In his application, the Islamabad fisheries DD mentioned that official contract of fishing from Rawal Lake had been awarded to one Bahadur Sher Afridi against Rs 2.2 million through an open bid. He said the contractor reported to the department concerned that illegal fishing and boating was being done in Rawal Lake by local mafia. Police registered cases, carried out raids, arrested five men and seized 20 boats. He added the contractor again reported that unknown mafia mixed some intoxicated material into the lake’s water due to which fish are dying on daily basis. He said the poisonous water was also posing hazards to the residents of the twin cities. He appealed to the police to register a case against the mafia under terrorism charges. Police, while taking action, registered a case and started investigation.

On the other hand, water supply to the garrison city from Rawal Dam was suspended following reports of a large-scale killing of fish in the lake. The supply will be resumed as soon as the water quality is cleared by different laboratories.

A senior official in Water and Sanitation Agency said Small Dams Organisation Punjab disconnected the water supply to the Wasa on Saturday after reports about the fish mortality appeared in a section of media.

He said the water supply was disconnected at 12pm on Saturday and the Wasa made alternative arrnged for supplying the water to the residents of Rawalpindi.

It is pertinent to mention here that according to media reports, a large number of dead fish started floating on the surface of the lake on Friday. The reports further suggested tests had confirmed that water had become poisonous mainly due to presence of poultry farms and agriculture activities in catchment areas of the lake measuring about 10 square miles.

The WASA official further said reports from Regional Research Laboratory, Public Healthcare Rawalpindi, had suggested that no arsenic was found in the lake water.

He added water samples had also been sent to PCSIR and Punjab Forensic Laboratory for further tests.

When contacted, WASA spokesperson Umer Farooq confirmed the SDO had stopped water supply from Rawal Lake to the agency.

About alternate plans, the spokesperson said Wasa Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mahmood had ordered utilisation of 400 tube-wells for 24 hours for constant supply of water. Further, supply from Khanpur Dam has also been increased. The users had been asked to consume the water judiciously.

Farooq further said that as soon as the test results from the two laboratories are received, the decision for resumption of water supply from the dam would be taken without any delay.

AC Saddar Tasnim Ali Khan, following the directions of Acting Commissioner/Deputy Commissioner Talat Mehmood Gondal, also visited the Rawal Lake and reviewed the situation there.