KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the municipal authorities to clean sewers and storm-water drains across the city within a month.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that strict action would be taken if the authorities failed to comply with the court order within the stipulated period.
A three-judge SC bench, headed by the CJP and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing a set of petitions and suo motu proceedings including non-provision of potable water and worsening sanitation conditions in Sindh, marine pollution, environmental hazards, verification of academic record of airlines’ staff at the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry.
When the bench asked Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar about the time frame for completion of the cleaning drive of sewers and storm-water drains, the mayor said the drive would begin from June 14.
The CJP imposes a ban on construction of walls for commercial outdoor advertisements in Karachi
The chief justice expressed displeasure over the delay and directed to complete it within a month and warned of severe action in case of non-compliance.
The court also directed the provincial government to provide required funds after Mr Akhtar said that there was a fund shortage.
Water commission term extended till December
The bench extended the term of the Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation till December.
Advocate Shahab Usto, who had petitioned the apex court over non-provision of potable water and worsening sanitation conditions in the province, submitted that the tenure of water commission, headed by retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, would end next month. He requested the court to extend it till December 2019.
However, the chief justice said that he was retiring in January next year and can only extend it till December this year.
PMDC told to inspect medical, dental colleges
The bench directed the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to inspect medical and dental colleges across the country.
A report regarding inspection of the Jinnah Medical and Dental College (JMDC) produced in court disclosed that the teaching facility was not complying with the regulations of 2012.
The apex court issued a notice to the chief executive of the JMDC directing him to appear in court on the next hearing along with his reply in this regard.
It also directed the PMDC authorities to continue to carry out inspections of the medical and dental colleges across the country.
An official of the Federal Investigation Agency informed the court that the private medical colleges had received around Rs750 million in the head of excessive fees from students.
Addressing senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan, CJP Nisar in a lighter vein remarked that the institutions were acknowledging him for taking suo motu notices, but Mr Khan was objecting to the powers of the suo motu.
The FIA official submitted that the management of some colleges was also threatening the students. He submitted that some colleges had been receiving huge donations, but they were still charging heavy fees from the students.
The officer added that some colleges charge up to Rs1.8m fee from each student while some others gave admission to local students on seats reserved for foreigners.
He said that the condition of some of the private medical colleges operating in Sindh was even worse.
The chief justice remarked that the future of the students would not be allowed to be spoiled, adding that the excessive fees received by the colleges would be refunded.
The chief justice remarked that the PMDC was working actively and impartially, as former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain was no more part of the national regulatory body.
Order to demolish advertisement wall on Sharea Faisal
The apex court directed the authorities concerned to demolish a wall built on Sharea Faisal for the purpose of displaying commercial advertisements.
It also imposed a ban on constructing such walls and using them for any commercial outdoor advertisements in future.
The chief justice inquired from the chief executive officer of the Cantonment Board Karachi as to who had built such walls in his area. The officer said that the cantonment board had issued notices to the private advertising firms.
CJP Nisar remarked that merely issuing notices to advertisers would not serve any purpose.
Petitioner Ashraf Saeed informed the judges that a wall had been built near FTC building on Sharea Faisal and several other such walls had also been raised in various areas.
He said such walls were defacing the beauty of the city and asked the court to order the authorities concerned to demolish them.
Foreign content on TV channels
The court directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to take strict action against all those private TV channels showing more than 10 per cent foreign content allowed under the law.
The chief justice remarked that these channels would be airing vulgar content on the eve of Eid. Therefore, he directed the Pemra chief to take action against them before Eid.
Earlier, the Pemra chairman, through the additional attorney general, submitted a report that the authority had issued licences to 38 entertainment channels to operate in the country, adding 23 of them were showing foreign content.
The chief justice observed that cable operators also aired Indian movies throughout the day and inquired from the Pemra chief as to why no action was taken against such channels’ management.
The court also directed him to take action against the cable operators.
The Pemra chief said that action was taken against the management of television channels, but they obtained stay orders against the authority.
The CJP directed all the high courts’ chief justices to ensure all the cases assailing the orders/notices by Pemra should be disposed of within 10 days.
It directed the office to facsimile a copy of the order to the registrars of all the high courts.
Over 3,000 degrees verified
The bench directed the Civil Aviation Authority to submit a report within six weeks after completion of the verification of the academic record of pilots and staff of all airlines.
The bench was informed that two private airlines — Shaheen and Serene — had submitted record of pilots and staff to the CAA, adding that out of 132 degree/academic certificates of Serene 92 had so far been verified while over 135 out of 245 degrees of Airblue staff had been confirmed.
The officials said out of over 5,800 degrees, around 2,900 degrees of pilots and staff of the Pakistan International Airlines had so far been verified.