The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the closure of a pond in Punjab's Chakwal district whose water was being supplied to a cement factory.
Hearing a suo motu case regarding two factories' illegal use of water from natural sources, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar at the court's Lahore registry ordered authorities to determine the per cusec rate of water from ponds before it can be sold off to factories.
"Water is a blessing of Allah, how can you sell natural water," the CJP asked Ghulam Sagheer, the owner of the pond in Kallar Kahar that was ordered closed by the top court. The water from the pond was supplied to Bestway Cement.
Justice Nisar also asked why the court should not seize the pond owner's property and hand it over to the government.
"I give zakat [charity] to widows from the money [obtained by selling water]," Sagheer responded.
Justice Umar Atta Bandial reminded him that water is a natural resource which cannot be sold for monetary gains.
While ordering the closure of the pond, the court also directed the environment department to submit weekly reports regarding environmental pollution in the area.
During the hearing, the CJP announced that he will also take a notice against mineral water companies.
"[We] will have to see how the mineral water companies obtain their water and how much they pay for it," the top judge remarked.
He recalled that newly sworn-in Prime Minister Imran Khan had also talked about the water crisis in his address to the nation.
"It is the government's responsibility to provide clean water to the people," CJP Nisar said.