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Mustafa Kamal denies allotting treatment plant land

SC HEARS EX-CITY NAZIM IN DRINKING WATER CASE

By Staff Reporter

KARACHI: Former City Nazim and Chairman Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Mustafa Kamal yesterday denied before the Supreme Court (SC) that he had leased out 50 out of 129 acres of land reserved for the water treatment plant Mehmoodabad during his tenure.

A three-judge apex court bench, headed by the Chief justice Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah in its Karachi registry was hearing a constitutional petition filed by Advocate Shahab Usto who had sought better sanitation facilities, environment and potable water in the province.

The apex court is ready to lend its support to the provincial government, but the chief minister will have to give a guarantee of accomplishing the task, the chief justice remarked.

Justice Nisar inquired as to how much water from the Indus River falls into the sea annually and why this water could not be used to meet the needs of Karachiites.

Former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal claimed before the court that Karachi is being provided 1.51 per cent of the water from Sindh’s share.

Kamal said providing safe water and solving sewerage issues is the job of local governments – not the chief minister’s.

Earlier on Monday, the court had summoned Kamal and directed him explain his position as to how and under what authority the land was allotted or leased out by him.

During the hearing, Kamal informed the judges that the allotment and leasing powers were not vested with him, adding that that the land was allotted with the approval of the City Council.

“Even the city council had no authority to allot the land meant for treatment plant,” the court observed.

The PSP chief requested the court to provide him a copy of the judicial commission’s report and orders of the court regarding the issue, on which the court ordered provision of all concerned documents to Kamal.

The bench also directed local government secretary to furnish a report as to how the land was allotted.

The report should include the names of the responsible persons and the ones who were allotted water treatment plant land at Mehmoodabad, the apex court ruled.

Kamal was accompanied at the court by PSP leader Anis Qaimkhani. Advocate general Sindh, the home secretary and managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) are also present in the court.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal and Karachi police chief Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar appeared before the Supreme Court yesterday for a hearing on a plea concerning provision of clean drinking water and safe environment in the province.

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