::Environmental Protection Matters and Public Interest Litigation in Pakistan

PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS

This subject examines the role of superior courts of Pakistan in furthering the end of environmental protection by using their constitutional jurisdiction through public interest litigation. It is crystal clear that in Pakistan the judiciary has performed a more active and vital role on protecting the environment than agencies established under the environmental litigation.

(A) The Constitutional And Legal Framework

1.   Constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan, 1973

(1)      There is no direct provision in the constitution with respect to environmental protection and sustainable development. Apparently, the emerging internationalism of recourse management captured in the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment was too recent to then receive the attention of the draftsmen of the Constitution.

(2)      The nearest reference to the ‘environment’ is found in concurrent list, Item 42 that includes “ecology”. This means that both the federation and the four provinces can legislate in this area with federal primacy in the case of a conflict between a federal and provincial law (Article 143)

(3)      Part II deals with fundamental rights which are justiciable in the High Courts of Pakistan {Article 8(1) and 199(2)} including through the writ jurisdiction of the superior courts (the four provincial high Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan). Article 9 and 14 provide for the right to life and the right to dignity:

(a)    Article 9

Security of Person: No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law.

(b)    Article 14

Inviolability of dignity of man etc. (1) The dignity of man and, subject to law, the privacy of home, shall be inviolable…

(4)      The jurisdiction of the supreme court in respect of Public Interest Litigation has been developed from Article 184(3):

Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights, conferred by chapter-1 of part-II, is involved, have the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article.

(5)      Under the constitution, the law laid down by the Supreme Court is binding on the four provincial High Court and the subordinate judiciary (Article 189).

2.  Legal Framework

The corner stone of environmental legislation is the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 that superceded the Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance promulgated in 1983.

(B) ENVIRONMENTAL CASES UNDER PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION

The following is the chronological summary of public interest litigation in the Superior Courts of Pakistan in respect of Environmental matters.

(1) In 1990, the First Public Interest Litigation in the field of environment in the country was Roedad Khan vs. Federation of Pakistan and 41 Others, Writ Petition No. 642 of 1990 filed by the Margallah Hills Society in the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench through Dr. Parvez Hassan, counsel. The complainant was that the construction of the ISI Complex, the Quarrying activities carried out by Facto Cement Limited and the stone crushing activities in the Margallah Hill National Park involved breaking up and clearing of land, falling of trees and discharge of effluents which pollute the environment of National Park and poses a serious health hazard to the residents of Islamabad. It was contended that this would result in a depletion of the natural habitats, dislocating the wildlife of the area and causing ecological imbalance and degradation. Although no specific orders were passed in this writ petition: Dr. Nasim Hassan Shah, Chief justice Of Pakistan, Acknowledged that:

“In the well-known case relating to Margallah Hill. The complainant was that the stone crushing plants established there were not only destroying these lovely Hills but also posing a serious health hazard to the people living all round. The approach of the Lahore High Court Bench seized of this matter has been very positive and attendant publicity to the proceedings of the court has resulted in the initiation of remedial action by the government itself in this matter.”

(2) In the same year the High Court upheld the locus standi to maintain the constitutional petitions for public interest in general public. This was held in Ch. Riaz Mahmood Yazdani vs. the Federation of Pakistan, 1990 CLC 1406 in which petitioner alleged that approximately 50,000/- tons of unwholesome dried milk contaminated with atomic radiation due to leakage in the nuclear plant in Chernobyl (U.S.S.R.) was imported and same was found dangerous for human Consumption by the analyzing agencies, but due to political clout the same was made available in the market. The court held that petitioner had the locus standi to maintain the constitutional petition but the court dismissed the petition due to wild, vague and unspecified assertions.

(3) A year after in 1991, Writ Petition No. 9297 of 1991, was filed in the Lahore High Court, by United Welfare Association, Lahore against Lahore Development Authority and the proprietors of some asphalt plants. The intervention of the court was sought for getting certain asphalt plants removed from their sites in Lahore on account of serious health hazard they were posing for the residents. Dr. Justice Nasim Hassan Shah comments on this case”

“The Anxiety felt by the court hearing this complainant is manifest from the order it passed on 15 October 1991. Herein after noticing the contention of the petitioner it not only called upon the Lahore Development Authority to answer the allegations contained on the petition but also requested a renowned environmentalist namely Dr. Parvez Hassan, Advocate to visit the area “to verify the complaint made and then suggest to the court the measures to be adopted”.

Dr. Parvez Hassan visited the area and reported to the Lahore High Court that:

The air-borne pollutants, from the operational activity of the plant, are disperses over a large area…and that these pollutants were emitting toxic substances like sulpher dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hetrocylic compounds and hydrocarbons besides colossal quantities of air borne fine dust emitted through the crush unloading at the site and during its processing at the plant

Dr. Parvez Hassan Recommended to the court that:

The continued operation of these plants is inconsistent with the rights of the adjourning residential areas to a clean and healthy environment. The resident are continually exposed to the obnoxious fumes and the potential health hazards unleashed by these asphalt plant. These should be removed from the site and relocated in areas where there is no danger to the environment. Even at the relocated sites, activities of the plant should be monitored with a view to minimize the impact of their environmental degradation.

As a result of this report, the Director General, LDA Passed order for the shifting of the asphalt plants.

(4) In June 1991, a Constitutional Petitions under Article 199 of the Constitution was filed by Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment, (SCOPE) an environmental NGO in Karachi, praying for an issuance of a writ to stop the construction of a highway through the Kirthar National Park (KNP). Indus high way issue was perhaps the first high profile case in Pakistan where environmental concerns were in conflict with a major national development project.  The Indus highway project was firstly conceived in the early 70’s as a strategic highway to shorten the distance between the cities of Karachi and Peshawar and to bring economic development to the depressed regions on the west bank of Indus. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) carried out an urgent environmental review of the project and stated in its report that the effects on the environment and ecology of the KNP greatly outweighed the economic benefits to be derived by it.

Before the court could consider this complaint, the Prime Minister intervened. At the end of the June, the Prime Minister announced that he had directed the Indus highway authority to find an alternative route. The rerouting was confirmed in mid September 1991, by the National Council for the Conservation of Wildlife and by the Prime Minister through announcement in the press, television and radio.

(5) In 1991, the Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment filed two writ petitions in the Sindh High Court relating to separate permissions given to foreign nationals to hunt the Houbara Bustard because each winter on the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs middle castern dignitaries arrive in Pakistan in massive fleets of private planes. They come equipped with latest computers, radars, weapons, equipped vehicles and priceless falcons trained specifically for the annual Houbara Hunt.

Houbara has been listed as a protected species in Provincial Wildlife legislation, Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1972 and its hunting is banned under law. One writ received a successful verdict, which was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the Sindh High Court. In the order writ a stay order was passed but the case itself remained undecided. However, neither of these cases sought overriding directions from the court to the government to enforce its own laws in connection with the hunting of Houbara Bustard. The judgment dealt only with specific hunting permissions, nevertheless, due to these petition the number of hunting permits for the Houbara have dropped.

(6) The same year, a similar case was brought by WWF in the Lahore High Court in Writ Petition No. D-1403/91.  The court made an interim order pending its hearing of the full case, however, before it could be heard, the Punjab Government passed a law, removing the protected status from the Houbara Bustard and placing in its category which would allow hunting to proceed with license.

(7) In 1992, a welfare society, Karachi Administration Women’s Welfare Society (KAWWS) wrote a letter to the Supreme Court stating that the health hazards in the use of open storm water drains for the disposal of sewerage and the contamination of water from sewerage resulting from damaged adjoining water and sewerage pipes are a violation of the fundamental rights of the people living in the area. The Supreme Court converted the letter into a Human Right Case, the Human Right case No. 9-k/1992. KAWWS requested the court to appoint an independent expert on water and sewerage to survey the area, recommend solution and monitor the work done. The Supreme Court constituted a Commission, which reported that the complainants in the petitions were correct. The court directed the remedial measures including the repair of the water and sewerage pipes.

(8) In 1992 re: Pollution of Environment Caused by Smoke, Emitting Vehicle, Traffic Muddle H.R. No. 4-k Of 1992, 1996 SCMR 543, the Supreme Court passed interim order for taking effective and remedial measures in order to streamline the process of checking as a first step in eliminating the air and noise pollution from Karachi.

In order to streamline the process of checking as first step in eliminating the pollution caused by the smoke emitting vehicles, the following interim order was passed by the Supreme Court: –

(a)    A minimum of two mobile checking per week per district for at least 2-1/2 hours duration should be arranged in terms of the earlier order, which is being practiced. Henceforth the Honorary Magistrate appointed by the Provincial Government with the approval of the Chief Justice, High Court of Sindh,  be associated with the checking team and if S.T.Ms are not available, the honorary magistrate shall try and dispose of summary cases at the time of checking.

(b)    The monthly schedule of the mobile checking shall be issued by the S.T.M. or any person authorized by the commissioner without mentioning the checking location, which shall be decided by the checking team at the time of starting the checking on that day.

(c)    A weekly repot of such checking shall be issued by the S.T.M/ Honorary Magistrate to the C.P.L.C., Central Reporting Cell, which shall compile the same and submit a consolidated report with comments and suggestions to the Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court, Karachi after every three months.

(d)    A report shows that neither M.T.C Government vehicles including police vehicle and certain “marked” private transport vehicles are not challaned. This discrimination should end and all vehicles irrespective of their owner/driver should be brought to book in case they violate the law. On query what is meant by “marked” transport private vehicle it was disclosed that these vehicle bear a particular mark, inscription, insignia or certain word which are understood by certain persons involved with the traffic checking and they just allow them to pass without checking that they belong to influential persons. This is a deplorable attitude. The authorities concerned are directed to check vehicles irrespective of fact whether they are marked or not, but if this policy of not challaning marked vehicle persists, the representative of C.P.L.C. associated with the checking team should note down the number of such vehicle and report it to the C.P.L.C. reporting center which shall forward it to the Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court, Karachi.

(e)    Motor vehicle inspection Procedure should be totally overhauled and every week, D.I.G., shall obtain the particular of such vehicles to which fitness certificates have been issued by Motor Vehicle Rules. And forward them to C.P.L.C., central Reporting Cell that shall submit with comments to the Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court, Karachi along with the quarterly reports.

As regards Nose Pollution Following interim order is passed.

(i)                  As required by the Motor Vehicle Ordinance the concerned authorities should ensure that the motorcycle rickshaws are not allowed to ply without silencers. It has been pointed out that there has been a practice in Karachi that the Silencers are not fitted in the motorcycle rickshaws. Such practice, however, cannot override the provisions of the law, particularly rules 155 and 158 of the Motor Vehicle Rules, 1969. In the existing circumstance, all the persons owning or plying motorcycle rickshaws should be given one month’s time to get the silencers fitted in their motor cycle rickshaws. A wide publicity should be made through press, radio and television. Such notices should be displayed at public places. After expiry of one-month action shall be taken against motorcycles rickshaws plying without silencers.

(ii)                Many vehicles are found with fitted pressure horns or multi-tone horns giving unduly harsh shrill loud or alarming voice. Rule 154 of the Motor Vehicles Rules, 1969 prohibits fitting of such horns. The practice seems to be that such vehicles are challaned and pressure horn are disconnected or seized by the police. However, in order to make it more effective whenever any authority seizes such horn, it should deposit it with Central Nizarat situated opposite civic center, Karachi.

(9) In 1993, Two Constitutional Petitions No. CA 164-K/93 and CA 206-k/93, under Article 199 of the Constitution were filed by SCOPE, World Wild Life Fund (WWF) and one Syed Kamal Ahmad against Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), which is responsible for the management of the Haleji Lake for auctioning the commercial fishing rights for Haleji Lake sanctuary. The case was heard on 11 January 1993 and the court ordered against large-scale commercial fishing to protect the sanctuary status of Haleji Lake.

(10) In 1994, in the Human Rights Case (Environment Pollution in Balochistan), PLD 1994 SC 102, the Supreme Court of Pakistan moved suo moto to prevent the dumping of imported industrial and nuclear wastes in Pakistan. The Supreme Court noticed a news item in a daily newspaper with respect to the purchase of coastal areas of Balochistan for the dumping of industrial and nuclear wastes, it reasoned:

The coast land of Balochistan is about 450 miles long.  To dump waste materials including nuclear waste from the developed countries would not only be hazard to the health of the people but also to the environment and the marine life in the region… in my view, if nuclear waste is dumped on the coastal land of Balochistan, it is bound to create environmental hazard and pollution. This act will violate Article 9 of the Constitution.

Finding this violation of Article 9 of the Constitution, it ordered the Government of Balochistan to explain whether coastal lands of Balochistan or any area within the territorial water of Pakistan had been allotted to any person. The Supreme Court ordered that the allottees not engage in dumping industries or nuclear waste of any nature on the land or in seas or by destroying it by any device. The Supreme Court further directed all concerned Governmental agencies to include a condition in the allotment letters that the allotted land shall not be used for dumping industrial or nuclear wastes.

(11) In Ms. Shehla Zia and Others vs. WAPDA, PLD 1994 SC 693, Four citizens protested to WAPDA against the construction of grid station with high voltage transmission lines in the Green-belt of a residential locality in Islamabad. Dr. Parvez Hassan was counsel on behalf of the petitioner. The Supreme Court in this Landmark Judgment, already being cited internationally, held that the right to clean environment is a fundamental right of all citizen of Pakistan covered by the “right to life” and the “right to dignity” under Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution:

(a)    Article 9 of the Constitution provides that “No person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law. The word “life” is very significant as it covers all facts of human existence.  The word “life” has not been defined in the Constitution bit tit does not mean no can be restricted to the vegetative or animal life or mere existence from conception to death. Life includes all such amenities and facilities, which a person born in a free country is entitled to enjoy with dignity, legally and constitutionally.

(b)    Article 14 provides that the dignity of a man and subject to law the privacy of home shall be inviolable. The fundamental right to Preserve and protect the dignity of man under Article 14 is unparalleled and could be found only in few constitutions of the world.

(c)    The constitution guarantees dignity of man and also right to “life” under Article 9 and of both are read together, question will arise whether a person can be said to have dignity of man if his right to life is below bare necessity like without proper food, clothing, shelter, education, health care clean atmosphere and unpolluted environment.

(d)    These judgments  {Indian judgment cited by the Appellant} go a long way to show that in case where life of citizens is degraded, the quality of life is adversely affected and health hazards are created affecting a large number of people, the court in exercise of its jurisdiction under article 183(3) of the constitution may grant relief to the extent of stopping the functioning of units, which create pollution and environmental degradation.

The Supreme Court also accepted the importance of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Precautionary Principle included in its Principle 15.

The Supreme Court prevented the establishment of the high voltage grid station by directing:

While planning and deciding to construct the grid station WAPDA and the Government Department acted in routine manner without taking into consideration the latest research and planning in the field nor any thought seems to have been given to hazards it may cause to human health. In these circumstances, before passing any final order, with the consent of the both parties, we appoint NESPAK as Commissioner to examine and study the scheme, Planning, device and technique employed by WAPDA and report whether there is any likelihood of any hazard or adverse effect on health of the residents of the locality, NESPAK may also suggest variation in the plan for minimizing the alleged danger. WAPDA shall submit all the plans, scheme and relevant information to NESPAK…WAPDA is further directed that in future prior to installing or constructing any grid station and/or transmission line, they would issue public notice in the newspaper, radio and television inviting objections and to finalize the plan after considering the objections, if any, by affording public hearing to the person filing objections; this procedure shall be adopted and continues by WAPDA till such time the Government constitutes any commission or authority as suggested above.

The judgment enable future public interest litigation without the technical hurdles of “standing to ‘sue” or the necessity of being directly affected as an “aggrieved person”.

(12) Again in 1994, in General Secretary, West Pakistan Salt Mines Labor Union (CBA) Khewera, Jehlum vs. The Director, Industries and Mineral Development, Punjab, Lahore, 1994 SCMR 2061, the petitioner sought enforcement of the right of the residents to have clean and unpolluted water against coal mining activity in the upstream area. It was alleged that in case the mines were allowed to continue their activities, which extended in the water catchment’s area, the watercourse, reservoir and the pipelines would get contaminated. The Supreme Court, replying on the earlier Shelia Zia case, issued a number of directions to the concerned parties and departments:

(A)   Punjab Coal Company (P.P.C) is directed to shift within four months, the location of the mouth of mine No. 27A at a safe distance from the stream and small reservoir in such a manner that they are not polluted by mine debris, carbonized material and water spilled out from the mines to the satisfaction of the Commission consisting of the following members:

(i)                  Dr. Parvez Hassan, Advocate, Lahore (Chairman)

(ii)                Dr. Tariq Banuri;

(iii)               Director, Industries and Mineral Development, Lahore;

(iv)              A member nominated by PMDC [Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation]; and

(v)                A member co-opted by the aforesaid members of the commission.

The Commission shall have power of inspection, recording evidence, examining witnesses including the powers as provided by Order XXVI Civil Procedure Code 1908. If, on the report of the commission, it transpires that shifting of the mine mouth is not possible, then the case shall b place before the court for further consideration including the question whether the operation of mine No.27A should be completely stopped;

(B)   PMDC is directed to install a second pipeline connecting the top level reservoir;

(C)   PMDC will enlarge the top level water reservoir and construct wall reservoir cost of which will be shared equally by PMDC and P.P.C.;

(D)   P.P.C. and all the mines operating adjacent to the water catchment’s area shall take such measure to the satisfaction of the Commission, which may prevent pollution of the water source reservoir, stream beds and water catchment’s area;

(E)    Respondent No.1 and all authorities empowers and authorized to grant, renew or extend the mining lease or license, are ordered:

(i)                  Not to grant any fresh lease/license/ permission to carry out mining work in the area which prior to 1981 was water catchment’s area;

(ii)                Not to renew or extend existing lease/license of the mines mentioned in the Schedule to the judgment without prior permission of this court…

The full commission visited the site and finalized its report and recommendations to the Supreme Court to strengthen the measures already directed by Supreme Court.

(13) In 1995, a local family in Quetta filed a Writ Petition number C.P. 125/95 in the Balochistan High Court against Quetta Municipal Corporation (QMC) for violating the provisions of the Building code in constructing a milti-storied shopping complex by demolishing a fruit and vegetable market. Moreover, it became a standard to ignore the provisions of the Building Code.

In the August 1996 the High Court gave a judgment holding that the Quetta Building code was still in force and it provisions should be strictly applicable. The Court has accepted the position that Quetta should be horizontally expended and not vertically developed. By this one judgment the future and the safe development of Quetta has been enhanced.

(14) In M.D. Tahir, Advocate and others vs. Provincial Government through its Secretary, Forest Department, Lahore and others, 1995 CLC 1730 the petitioner filed a writ petition against the Government for issuance of direction to the authorities to refrain public from hunting/killing/catching/confining/caging/trading and eating of meat/beef of Hourbara Bustard, Partridge and all kinds of other birds, animals, and to direct them to act strictly in accordance with law, the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act 1974.

The court dismissed the petition in holding that every citizen of Pakistan has a fundamental right to enter into any trade or profession he likes, unless law prohibits the same. No law or injunction of Islam, which prohibits trading of animals and birds. Therefore, n relief can be granted, merely on the basis of any person’s whim and wish, who is one out of twelve crores of persons, majority of whom, who are not even parties to Constitutional Petition, might not agree with him on lot many issues raised by him.

(15) In Mst. Ameer Bano vs. S.E. Highways, PLD 1996 Lahore 592, the petitioner raised the grievance that the sewerage system in Bahawalpur had become totally unserviceable with the result that the dirty water has collected on the form of ponds, in some cases it has entered the dwelling houses and on the roads. The highway department is constructing the roads at a very high level and if it is allowed to continue, the overflowing dirty water will enter the residential houses.

The court held that, it is apprehended the residents will contract many diseases, which in turn will mean that human life in the area will be endangered. Thus, protection to life guaranteed under article 9 of the constitution will stand denied to a large number of citizens. The court treated the petition as Public Interest Litigation for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Due to urgency involved the court decided to decide the petition immediately and dispensing with the normal procedure of admitting the case in the first instance and deciding it later on. The court issued certain directions to secure the fundamental rights of the citizen with regard to protection of their life from disease and inconvenience.

(16) In Asfand Yar Khan vs. Chief Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory, Islamabad and 3 others, 1996 SCMR 1421 the petitioner challenged termination of his lease by the authority in the Writ Petition No. 965 of 1995 before the High Court because his lease was terminated on the ground that the demarcated leased area has been declared to be Margallah Hills as National Park under section 21 of the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979 and the breaking up of the earth or digging or removal of stone etc. was prohibited from that area under the said Ordinance.

The High Court dismissed the writ petition because the area fell within the National Park Area and because of the prevention of environmental pollution, the blasting or quarrying of limes stones in the National Park Area could not be permitted.

The Supreme Court also refused the leave to appeal on the ground that there was no substance in the appeal.

(17) In the Pakistan Chest Foundation and others vs., Government of Pakistan, 1997 CLC 1379, the petitioner’s case was that the Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation are regularly advertising different brands of cigarettes in the country for and on behalf the various Tobacco Companies through alluring commercial, to promote and increase the sale of cigarettes in the country.

The petitioner sought a direction from the curt that these two organizations be restrained from promoting tobacco products and endangering human life. Addressing the issue of locus stani the Lahore High Court held that a public interest litigation can be initiated by a public spirited person who may fell the wrong done to him and others or it may be initiated on or on behalf of a voluntary organization or association which have dedicated themselves to work for and protect the rights of the people on particular fields. Such persons, bodies or associations cannot term as unconnected person with the causes involved.

The High Court relied upon the Shela Zia’s case, which had explained the scope of “life” as envisaged in article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan. It held that by applying the principle of law as enunciated in Shehla Zia case to the facts and circumstance of the present case, the citizens of this country and particularly the younger generation are entitled for protection of law particularly from being exposed to the hazards of cigarette smoking. A direction was issued by the High Court, banning the cigarette advertisement after a period of three years on Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation before this period the advertisements shall not show the actual act of smoking and the same is to be followed by a proper warning.

(18) In 1999, the petitioner in Abdul Qayyum vs., DG, EPA 1999 PLR 640, filed a writ petition against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of noise and other emissions from the industrial units in their residential area. The petitioners have approached the EPA several times to control the pollution by utilizing their power under PEPA but EPA failed to do so.

The Court while disposing of the petition held that the provisions of the PEPA do show that the same are comprehensive and the agencies and authorities created under the Act have also given the powers to lay down the necessary standards as also to enforce the same by invoking penal provisions in accordance with law. While the EPA in its comments has claimed that it has recommended shifting of industries, it is failing to prosecute the offender in the event of its reaching the conclusion that the discharges and emissions are not lawful or more than prescribed. Therefore, the court issued a mandamus direction to the EPA to deal with the matter in accordance with the provisions of the PEPA.

(19) In Tanvir Arif vs. Federation of Pakistan, 1999 CLC 981 the Petitioner filed the writ petition against the letter of the Chief Protocol of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs addressed to the Chief Secretary, Sindh regarding the allocation an area for the hunting of Houbara Bustard for the dignitary of U.A.E. because of the it being in violation of Section 7 of the SWPO declaring Houbara Bustard as protected animal.

The High Court in its earlier judgment declared that the license granted by the authorities to the Foreign dignitary was in contravention with the aims and objectives of SWPO and authorities are directed to refrain from acting under said license. The court held that as responsible officers of the Government it was their duty to uphold the law and the judgment of this court. The court further held that Pakistan is an Islamic state where all persons are equal in the eyes of law and no person including the Caliph is above the law.

The Deputy Attorney General of Pakistan (the DAG) explained the court that the license was issued by the Respondents in ignorance of the order of this Court and assured that in future authorities would take care and the orders of the High Court would be respected and obeyed in letter and spirit

(20) The Writ Petition No. 13470 of 2000, Jawad Hassan vs. Ministry of Law and others was filed for public interest because the PEPA came in 1997 and the Environmental Tribunals which are constituted under section 20 of the PEPA with exclusive jurisdiction to try serious offences and to hear appeals, were not functioning till July 2000. There was badly felt need for the presence of a working tribunal. Consequently, on 17 July 2000 the Federal Government, appointed the Chairman of the Tribunal and it started functioning full time on 25 September 2001.

(21) In M.D. Tahir vs. WAPDA and Others, 2000 MLD 851, the Petitioner filed this petition for a direction against the Government to plant trees in the country, to impose ban on the air conditioners, refrigerators and deep freezers, which are causing environmental pollution. The Government filed its Para wise comments and stated that it has imposed a ban on commercial exploitation of Forests for a period of two years from 1993 to 1995, which was further extended till 1997.

The Court disposed off the writ relating to forestation because Government is itself keen to promote this. On the question of air-conditioning the court dismissed it on a ground that their Prima Facie use does not infringe any fundamental rights of the petitioner.

(22) In Abdul Latif vs. Additional Session Judge, Sahiwal, 2001 CLC 1139, the writ petition was filed against the order of the Additional Session Judge, Sahiwal who declared that the leather factory was causing a nuisance under Section 133 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1868 (Cr, PC). The Lahore High Court held that the PEPA is a complete code for inter alia, prevention/elimination of any pollution amounting to public nuisance as visualized by section 133 of Cr.PC. The PEPA being special statutes override the provisions of general statute, criminal law in respect of matters covers by it.

(23) On 15 February, the Lahore High Court in the Writ Petition No. 671 of 1995 titled Rana Ishaque vs. DG, EPA and others, restrained 121 industrial units of Punjab from discharging effluents into drains and canals on a petition stating that these were being drained without treatment. The petitioners stated that effluents were being illegally drained into water. Consequently, the Executive Engineers of the Irrigation Department wrote letter to the industries regarding implementation of the High Court’s order and obtaining the NOC from the EPD. The letters further directed after 30 June 2001, the discharge of the effluents into the drain was not be allowed at any cost. On 14 June 2001,the court allowed only those industries, which have installed treatment plants. Consequently, most of the industries have started to install the treatment plants to avoid any threatened litigation in future.

(24) In February 2001 the Lahore High Court appointed Dr. Parvez Hassan as the amicus curiae to assist the court in the Writ Petition No. 25084-97 titled “Anjum Irfan vs., LDA and others”. Dr. Parvez Hassan filed the proposals for controlling Vehicular and other Pollution in Lahore by stating that the EPA and PEPC be impleaded as a party. He gave certain measures to be given to EPD to discharge its statutory functions under the Act with regard to control of Air Pollution. He further stated that the High Court may direct the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Pakistan Environment Protection Council to develop the national Ambient Air Quality Standards and the Federal Government should be directed to notify the Rules for pollution control devices and fuels under section 15 (2) of the Act with due attention to the use of lead free gasoline and use of compressed natural gas (CNG) for Vehicles. The Court impleaded the PEPC and the EPA as the Parties.

(25) In 2000 eleven NGOs filed a constitutional petition against the Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh and Premier and Shell Pakistan (PSP) for awarding a license to PSP for exploration activities in KNP. Section 15 of the Sindh Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1972 (the SWPO) clearly prohibits “Clearing or breaking up of any land for cultivation, mining or for any other purpose” in the park.

In June 2001, the Governer of sindh amended the SWPO. The amendment was that the prohibition would not apply “ to any activity in a national park in connection with the exploration or production of oil and gas which is undertaken in accordance with an environmental impact assessment”.

On 4 October 2001, the Chief Justice dismissed the case on technical ground because of the amendment in SWPO.

 

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