A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday expressed concern over the alarming quantities of arsenic in drinking water in Punjab while hearing a suo motu notice regarding provision of safe drinking water in the province.

Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed, who appeared before the court at its Lahore registry, was reprimanded by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar over the quality of water in the province.

"What is the Punjab government doing for health and education?" the CJP asked. He also inquired about the state and quality of water provided in hospitals, schools and colleges.

"Private colleges are taking heavy fees; what is the quality of water they are providing to the students?"

The CJP asked the chief secretary to postpone all his activities and accompany the bench for a week while it was hearing cases at the Lahore registry.

He said the SC had made the government act in Karachi and now it was Punjab's turn.

Earlier this month, the SC had summoned Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on a petition pertaining to supply of potable water and better sanitation across the province at its Karachi registry.

The chief justice had observed that the water and sanitation situation in the province was “miserable”, adding that the CM was summoned so they could resolve the situation together.

SC bench visits Mayo Hospital

The CJP, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Umar Ata Bandial visited Mayo Hospital where they were briefed by the medical superintendent regarding the facilities provided at the hospital.

The CJP directed that water filtration plants be installed at the hospital so patients and their visitors could have safe drinking water at hospital premises.

During the trip to the hospital, the chief justice warned the chief secretary that recklessness in the health and education sectors will not be tolerated.

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