Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday remarked that mineral water companies have dried up Lahore and Sheikhupura.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo case pertaining to the alleged exploitation of water resources by mineral water companies operating in the country.
During the hearing, the chief justice remarked, “No company selling drinking water is paying for underground water. Billions of gallons of water were taken and even hundreds of thousands were not paid for it.”
“Meanwhile, most mineral water companies are selling sub-standard water,” he added.
Presenting his arguments, senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, who appeared before the court today to represent a mineral water company, said that “money is spent on extracting underground water, purifying it and marketing it”.
Responding to him, Justice Nisar said, “Lets shutdown your turbine and ask the company to give tap water.”
Following this, Ahsan read a report regarding water purification and the chief justice questioned “whether he was reading the Indus saga”. You had only told us about how much you are paying, Justice Nisar added.
“Mineral water companies have dried up underground water reserves and taps have been running dry,” the chief justice added.
“Shutdown the industry which is making the country barren,” he asserted.
The chief justice urged the nation to drink tap water and said, “People waste water and leave half-full bottles. In villages, people still drink tap water but residents of cities have an attitude problem and don’t drink it.”
Further, the chief justice remarked, “If these companies want to continue operations then they should pay Rs1/litre to the government.” However, Ahsan said, “We can give up to Rs0.5/litre.” To this, Justice Nisar remarked, “You buy water for Rs1 and sell it for Rs52.”
“The level of underground water has reached 400 feet in Lahore and mineral water companies have dried up the provincial capital and Sheikhupura,” he added.
Requesting the nation once again to not drink bottled water, Justice Nisar said, “Stop using the water of those who have made our land barren and don’t even pay.”