In re: Human Rights Case (Environmental Pollution in Balochistan)

PLD 1994 SC 102
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The Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo moto cognizance of a news report in the English daily “Dawn” titled “N-Waste to be dumped in Balochistan?” The article stated that coastal areas in the Balochistan region were being acquired for the purposes of dumping nuclear and industrial waste. The Court had earlier directed the Chief Secretary of the Supreme Court to make the necessary enquiries regarding particulars of the allotment of the land. The relevant authorities had told the Secretary that the land had not been allotted for dumping nuclear waste and that the coastal authorities were able to monitor any dumping that might occur within 500 miles of the coastline.

The Court held that dumping nuclear waste in Balochistan would cause a health hazard. It considered that “to dump waste materials including nuclear waste from the developed countries, would not only be a hazard to the health of the people but also to the environment and the marine life in the region.” As such, it would violate the right to life of people living there, under Article 9 of the Constitution. The Court therefore ordered the Balochistan authorities to disclose any current and pending allotments or applications for allotments of land, and to include a clause in all allotment agreements prohibiting waste dumping.

“To dump waste materials including nuclear waste from the developed countries, would not only be a 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.” [PLD 1994 Supreme Court 102, Para 1]

“…no one will apply for allotment of land for dumping nuclear or industrial waste. This would be a clandestine act in the garb of a legal and proper business activity. The authorities are therefore not only to be vigilant in checking the vessels but regularly check that the allottees are not engaged in dumping industrial or nuclear waste of any nature on the land or in the sea or destroying it by any device.”[PLD 1994 Supreme Court 102, Para 3]

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