The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the federal and
provincial governments to implement the recommendations in
the flood inquiry commission report regarding the alleged
unauthorised diversion of floodwater through breaches,
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar
Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the petitions. The court
ordered the governments to submit an implementation report
after every 15 days.
In the 2010 floods, several ministers had been blamed for
encouraging illegal acts promoting encroachments to save
The Flood Inquiry Commission submitted its 200-page final
report in the Supreme Court, revealing that the negligence
of the Irrigation departments of Sindh and Balochistan had
caused a colossal loss of Rs855 billion to the national
economy during the devastating floods of 2010.
After taking the report, the court ordered that the report
be translated into Urdu and made public. The court held that
orders for implementation of the commission’s
recommendations would be announced on Tuesday.
According to the report, 1,600 people lost their lives and
thousands were injured. Almost 4.5 million people lost their
jobs, mostly in the farming sector. The Rabi crops for
2010-11 were badly affected and 20 million people became
internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 7.0 million students
were deprived of their academic session. The report said the
encroachments contributed to obstructions in the flow of
water resulting in flooding of many areas.
On December 15, 2010, the apex court had constituted the
Flood Inquiry Commission, headed by Muhammad Azam Khan and
comprising Fateh Khan Khajjak, A.W Kazi and Kh Zaheer Ahmed,
to investigate the damages caused by the 2010 flood that
engulfed Pakistan and caused unprecedented damage to life
The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the matter on
the letters of renowned lawyer Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, Deputy
Chairman Senate Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Dr Asad Leghari,
Muhammad Rahim Baloch and advocate Zahida Thebo, requesting
the chief justice to probe the matter of breaches in dykes
and unauthorised diversion of floodwaters by influential
people to save their lands.
Later, Marvi Memon, a PML-Q MNA, had also filed a petition
on the matter. Memon requested that the court order the
government to explain the reasons behind breaches in the
dykes, canals and other irrigation infrastructure in Sindh
and Balochistan during the floods.
“Thousands of acres of ‘katcha’ lands have been illegally
encroached upon by local influentials or have been leased
out at nominal charges, resulting in erection of private
bunds. Construction of houses and other built-up properties
has been allowed along riverbanks and canals. The local and
provincial governments have themselves indulged in
encouraging illegal acts promoting encroachments,” the
The Commission recommended that it should be ensured that
all the illegally-constructed structures on government
lands, which had been destroyed by the recent floods, should
not be allowed to be re-erected. It noted that some
governments sold out their acquired lands in pond areas to
raise revenue, while under the law, no construction of any
infrastructure was allowed to be erected within a distance
of 200 feet from banks of the river/streams.
The report noted had the Munda Dam been constructed, there
would have been minimal damage downstream in Charsadda,
Peshawar and Nowshera districts and Munda Headworks. The
report further observed that the Tori Bund had not been
repaired for the last many years.
According to the report, the flood loss is estimated at 5.8
percent of the total GDP and about 20 million people faced
an acute shortage of food, while 3.5 million children’s
education and 4.5 million persons’ livelihood were hit by
The report said the embankments were breached due to the
negligence and corruption of the Irrigation departments.
Local influential persons had encroached thousands of acres
of land in katcha areas. Among those directly responsible
for the deluge of Guddu are the chief engineer, in-charge
XEN and their staff, the report said.
The report said major damage was caused due to lack of
maintenance and repair of river embankments, canals and
obstruction by major highways/motorways constructed by the
Irrigation department and the National Highway Authority
(NHA) and others across the country.
The report said that flood victims were not given help in
time and because current early warning facilities in the
country were of a limited nature. “There are only seven
radars in the whole country. There is no coverage in the
northwest of the country and Balochistan, including the
coastal belt of 960 km,” the report pointed out.
The report said the chief and irrigation secretaries of
Sindh had tried to conceal the facts while irregularities
were found in the Sindh Irrigation Department. The
commission recommended a 10-year audit of the department.
The major reason for inundation of agricultural lands and
abadis on the northern side of Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway
(M-1) was the inadequate capacity of crossing bridges meant
for the drainage of floodwater in rivers located between
Peshawar and Mardan. The motorway virtually acted like a
‘bund’, obstructing the natural course of water flows into
the area. The bed of River Kabul, upstream and downstream of
the main Kabul River bridge, had silted up to an alarming
level, which has decreased the waterway, the report said.
It is imperative for the NHA and Federal Flood Commission
(FFC) to carry out a joint survey and study the roads
network in the country to identify areas of possible
flooding as a result of obstruction caused by these roads
and take remedial measures to ease the pressure of flood at
various potential locations, the report said.
Courtesy: The DAWN