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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

“Water shortage is now the top priority of the court,” says CJP

News Analysis |

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) took a suo motu notice of water shortage and its lack of supply throughout the country.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear cases regarding the water shortage in the capital on June 7, while the apex court’s Karachi and Lahore registries will hold hearings on June 9 and 10, respectively. The Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will also hear cases related to water issues in the Peshawar and Quetta registries.

Read more : Scarcity of Life: Water shortages reaching vertical limits in Pakistan

Notices have been issued to the top officials from the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) as well as the attorney general, advocate general and others.

The SC has demanded an explanation regarding the water shortage in the capital.

The CJP was heading a three-member SC bench that was hearing a 20-year-old petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah, a senior lawyer from Lahore, concerning the Kalabagh dam. He had argued “that 20 per cent of Pakistan’s growth rate is depended on water supply, yet no dam had been built in the country in the last 48 years”.

Read more : Pakistan appeals to World Bank over Indian violation of Indus Water Treaty

The petitioner has argued that if Pakistan fails to construct dams and save water, there might be some serious challenges in regard to the survival of the country in future.

Water Shortage ‘Top Priority’ of the Court:

The CJ has said that water shortage is now the “top priority” of the court and took a suo motu notice of the matter. Justice Sardar Tariq Masood also regretted that none of the political parties had taken the water issue seriously enough to include it in their manifestos.

While expressing concern over the dam built on the Kishanganga River by India as part of its Kishanganga hydropower plant project, the chief justice said that the Neelum River, which is a tributary of the Indian river, has dried up.

India has reportedly violated the Indus River Treaty many times. Pakistan has also approached the World Bank for India’s alleged violation of the treaty.

Water Crisis in Pakistan:

Some reports prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) have alarmed the country stating that Pakistan will reach absolute water scarcity by the year 2025.

Read more : Nawabshah proves Climate Change is real

The UN report also highlighted that the most immediate threats would be water unavailability to the masses and Neil Buhne, UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Pakistan said, “No person in Pakistan, whether from the North with its more than 5,000 glaciers, or from the South with its ‘hyper deserts’, will be immune to this.”

Moreover, the reports are attributing the crisis to climate change and poor management around the country. Due to the lack of attention and political will in Pakistan there have been no new dams to manage the country’s water crisis.

Experts suggest that this is an alarming situation and Pakistan needs to focus on developing a comprehensive policy mechanism to address the challenge.

German Diplomat’s advice

Interestingly, a German Diplomat posted a picture on Twitter and urged Paksitanis to save water. He wrote, “Using a bucket to save water while washing my car!! #paksitan ranks third amongst countries facing water shortage. One major reason is excessive use! 100 liters wasted washing a car with running tap water… many ways to #SaveWater in our daily life! #SaveWaterforPak.”

Later on, Jibran Nasir, a rights activist, responded to the tweet and said: “A foreign ambassador is showing deep concern for Pakistan’s fast depleting water resources and inspiring us by actions not just words. Can we imagine any of our mainstream leaders setting such examples? As a society we need to learn about our collective responsibility.”