Finding a solution to water crisis is the Supreme Court’s top priority now, said Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday.
He was hearing the case regarding environmental pollution at the Supreme Court. According to Justice Sardar Tariq, solution to water crisis and construction of dams was the priority of no political party.
The court fixed the hearing of the Kalabagh Dam case in the coming week. It also ordered that all the cases regarding water crises and construction of dams be fixed for hearing.
All petitions regarding Karachi’s water crisis will be heard at the top court’s Karachi registry on Saturday.
“Scarcity of water is the biggest crisis for the country,” remarked the CJ. “River Neelum will dry up due to Kishanganga Dam.”
He summoned former WAPDA chairpersons Shamsul Mulk and Zafar Mehmood to assist the court in solving the water crisis.
“I have said many times that water issues are extremely serious,” said the CJ. “If we can’t give water to our children, we can’t give them anything.”
The petitioner said that he has been fighting the case for Kalabagh Dam for the past 20 years. He said that the promise of dams should be made mandatory for all the parties before they contest the election. No dam was built in 48 years, he said.
According to him, a referendum on Kalabagh Dam should be held alongside the upcoming election. “The referendum slip should be given along with the ballot paper,” he said.
The CJ told him not to confuse the election. “The survival of Pakistan depends on water,” said the top judge. “I will do whatever is in my capacity to fix this issue.”
According to reports by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan will reach absolute water scarcity by the year 2025. Water shortage is common in Pakistan, especially in port city Karachi, where summer months bring about increased power cuts coupled with severe water shortage. Heatwaves aggravate the problems and protests often break out over water deprivation.