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SC hints at formation of commission on flood

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday hinted at constituting an experts’ commission to investigate overflowing of rivers, unauthorised diversion of floodwater and alleged breaches in the embankments of barrages and canals during the recent floods.

SC hints at formation of commission on floodA three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday took notice of breaches in the embankments alleged in letters written by renowned lawyer Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Deputy Chairman of the Senate Jan Mohammad Jamali, Dr Asad Leghari, Mohammad Rahim Baloch and Advocate Zahida Thebo and in a petition filed by PML-Q MNA Marvi Memon.

The bench decided to discuss the outline in the chambers, which the proposed commission would follow in probing the allegations after soliciting consent from the professionals the court intended to appoint in the commission.

A notification about the commission is likely to be issued on Dec 14. The experts’ commission is being set up despite the findings of an inquiry commission appointed by the Sindh government.

It said in its report that breaches in the Tori Bund and Moolchand Shah Bunder bunds were not man-made but were caused by natural factors.

The court, however, shared with the petitioners that it intended to appoint former Wapda chairman and minister Shamsul Mulk, former Sindh chief secretary A.K. Lodhi, former Punjab secretary Khwaja Zahiruddin and former chairman of the Indus River System Authority Fatehullah Khan Khattak.

Advocate General of Sindh Yousuf Lashari expressed reservation over the nomination of Shamsul Mulk because of his open stance in favour of building Kalabagh Dam, but the court said it was its prerogative to appoint any person it deemed fit.

The chief justice also suggested what he termed tentative terms of reference for the commission to ascertain whether precautionary measures were adopted in view of the warning issued by the meteorological department which had predicted unprecedented rains, who was responsible for the breach in Tori bund, whether criminal charges or civil penalties could be framed against those found responsible for not maintaining the irrigation system and its monitoring and upgrading prior to the floods and why less number of relief camps were set up for the flood-affected people.

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