KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar directed the Sindh government on Sunday to ensure the supply of piped water to citizens. The CJP came down hard on Sindh officials, saying that top court would itself deal with the ‘tanker mafia’, during a hearing on Sunday relating to non-supply of potable water, deteriorating sanitation conditions and packed milk. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, heard the case at Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry. The SC said that if owners of water tankers in Karachi held a strike, it was the court’s responsibility to deal with the matter. “If a strike is observed, we know how to deal with them,” a three-judge bench of apex court remarked referring to water tanker owners. “It is our responsibility.” The bench was hearing constitutional petition filed by Shahab Usto, a concerned citizen and lawyer. The case was filed against provincial government’s failure to provide potable water, better sanitation and environment and associated issues. In an unprecedented move, the CJP had fixed hearing of public welfare cases for Sunday at the Karachi Registry. “Give me a deadline for when matter of dirty drinking water will be resolved,” the CJP said during the hearing while addressing Karachi Water and Sewerage Board Managing Director Hashim Raza Zaidi. “When will sewerage water be treated and made available?” the CJP Nisar asked. “Water is available in Karachi, but is being sold to people through tankers.” Fahim Zaman, an activist and former administrator of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, told the bench that 250 hydrants were working in Karachi. “No matter how old the lines, they can always be repaired using modern technology in a short amount of time,” he added. “The solutions to these problems must be presented to us. The sale of water through tankers needs to end.” The Karachi mayor promised full cooperation. Appearing before the court, Waseem Akhtar said that there were a number of problems in city of Karachi. “The Water Board’s system is poor. Electricity is running on electric rings. The drains have been clogged,” he said. “You have been running a government in this city. It is your responsibility to resolve these problems,” the CJP told the mayor. “We want your support in solving city’s problems, not for your political gains, but for welfare of the people,” he added. “Tell me about the solution.” “Put politics aside and help find a solution to problem,” CJP Nisar urged the mayor. “I believe that there will be a development in three months.” Speaking to the media after the hearing, the mayor said that it appeared problem of drinking water in city would be resolved now as CJP has taken notice. The court ordered the Sindh government to submit a comprehensive plan to the Water Board in 15 days. “The plan should reflect clearly how problem will be solved,” the CJP said. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and former Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal had appeared before the court in December, 2017. The SC also nominated Justice (r) Ameer Hani Muslim as chairman of the ‘Water Commission’ to look after all related affairs of Karachi pertaining to water, sewerage treatment, hydrants, pollution, packed milk, health, violation in high rise buildings and irrigation system in Sindh. Justice (r) Muslim will not take up matters of contempt of court and transfer and postings of government officials. Iqbal Kalhoro has been relieved as chairman Water Commission on his request. The Sindh High Court has been asked to provide an office for Justice (r) Muslim with appropriate facilities within the court premises.+ Published in Daily Times, January 15th 2018.