Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday expressed his displeasure over the heaps of garbage that have become a regular feature of Karachi's cityscape and ordered the relevant authorities to ensure that all trash is removed within the week.
"I want a neat and clean Karachi within a week," CJ Nisar ordered while hearing a citizen's rights case concerning Sindh's water and sewerage problems in the Supreme Court's Karachi registry.
During the proceedings, Justice Nisar recalled that Mayor Waseem Akhtar was supposed to resolve the garbage issue. He ordered Akhtar to explain who was responsible for removing trash from the city.
The city mayor, who was present for the proceedings, put the onus of responsibility on the provincial government, reiterating his earlier stance that all his powers in this regard had been shifted to the government.
"The District Municipal Corporations (DMC) are responsible for garbage collection and disposal, and all DMCs work under the provincial government," he explained.
The provincial chief secretary, also present, seconded the mayor and told the court that 4.5 tonnes of garbage are left to rot on the city's streets on a daily basis.
He also told the court that the process of garbage removal from roads had been initiated. "The entire system of garbage collection and disposal has been made computerised," he claimed. He added that four contractors tasked with garbage collection were also operating in the city.
"Why has this improved system then not been able to yield results," Justice Nisar asked the secretary, before directing him to take measures for creating awareness among the citizenry on where to dispose of their trash.
The city mayor, on the other hand strongly criticised the provincial government, saying that Karachi has been "ruined" over the past 10 years.
"There are garbage heaps everywhere and hospitals are filled with patients," he said, demanding that revenue resources be provided to the local government setup.
The chief justice, however, directed the mayor to ensure cleanliness even if he was forced to collect alms for this.
"I don't know who is supposed to clear out the filth from this city but I don't want to see it again," he stated.
He also directed Akhtar not to indulge in politics as he had received votes to serve the citizens, not for scoring points.
The chief justice then praised the commission he had formed to look into Sindh's water woes, and directed it to take up the issue of garbage disposal as well.
The Sindh Home Department, on the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed water commission, had recently banned the dumping of household, industrial, commercial and hospital waste in the open spaces of residential and commercial areas.
Several people have been arrested for throwing garbage out in the open and cases have been registered against them.