Case# H2O: How a maverick Pakistani judge is leading the fight against water shortage

It is refreshing to see that Pakistanis are moving away from the usual demagogic slogans such as “Roti, Kapra, Makan” (PPP) and “Father of Atomic Bomb” (PMLN) to rather unappealing (but rational) ones such as “Billion Tree Tsunami“.

Among the individuals who are leading the fight against environmental degradation is an unorthodox but highly effective judge, known widely among his naysayers as “Baba Rehmtay”.

Unfortunately, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar, will forever be known for ousting PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif. Yes, the same guy who diminished Pakistan’s exports to US$20 billion from $24 billion just 5 years ago. The same guy under whom, Pakistan’s external borrowing grew to over US$90 billion, and Pakistan Railways, PIA and other government departments took a nosedive.

saqib nisar

The CJP deserves better than this. The guy has set up Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam fund that is unlikely to benefit him (he is already 64 and reports say Pakistan is likely to run out of clean water by 2025; Pakistan’s life expectancy is 66 years).

He has also taken mineral water companies to task and has vowed to rid Karachi of tanker mafia. Only recently, the Supreme Court invited recommendation on water conservation from experts. Now those outside Pakistan must be wondering: isn’t that the prerogative of the elected government?

Yes, the elected government has the sole right to implement these measures. But when the status quo is bent on upscaling popular rhetorics instead of rational ones, someone else has to rise to solve these issues.

Consider Pakistani gutter journalists such as Umar Cheema and Matiullah Jan. Devoid of etiquette and short on ethics, these guys are on the forefront when enjoying reliefs offered by CJP’s rulings against sales tax on mobile top-ups. Yet they will not let a moment pass by without criticizing even the best of CJP’s decisions.

Pakistani journalism, and unfortunately politics, works by dichotomous division of current affairs by those involved. For example, nowadays the media makes you believe there are only two groups working – the Nawaz Group and the Imran Group. The Nawaz Group includes PML-N and the Imran Group includes the PTI.

Depending on whom you support, the grouping diversifies. If you are a Nawaz supporter, then the Nawaz Group also includes angels and all that is good. The Imran Group then contains PPP, the army, the Supreme Court, establishment, agencies, USA, Israel and even Satan.

diamer bhasha

If you are an Imran supporter, then the Imran Group also includes all the good forces in the world and none of the evil ones. The Nawaz Group then contains PPP, India, UK, foreign agencies, bankers, money launderers, looters and, you guessed it, Satan.

This branching unfortunately trivializes the grand mission CJP is on because as always, it revolves around people instead of objectives. A better version of this hierarchy can be: The Water Conservation Group and the Anti Water Conservation Group.

Make no mistake here. If the dams are finally built, the Cheemas and the Matiullah’s will be the first to enjoy the perks of clean water. However, even then, instead of owning up to their past mistakes, they will find out ways to criticize our benefactors to suit their selfish agendas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *