ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed his vexation over the absence of government representation at the recently held conference on water scarcity, organised by the Supreme Court.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu case on bottled water.

Advocate General Punjab submitted a report to the bench which stated that the Punjab government has divided the use of water in three categories; to extract water from areas facing water scarcity, mineral water companies have to pay Rs0.75 per litre whereas in areas where there is no shortage of water, the companies are required to pay Rs0.15 per litre.

To this, the chief justice remarked that it seems they have put the donkey inside the well, it would rather be better not to take any money at all.

Expressing his anger at the report, Justice Nisar noted that a certain company sold off billions of rupees worth of water by acquiring a six acre land in Sheikhupura.

Mineral water companies are themselves quoting Rs0.50-0.75, these rates are not acceptable; there is no justification for charging such a meagre amount, the top judge remarked.

The chief justice lamented that the country was drying up yet not a single representative from the government showed up at the conference.

Towards the end of todays hearing, the court summoned Chief Secretary Punjab and Secretary Local Government on Monday, and ordered a forensic audit of mineral water companies with a report to be submitted on a weekly basis in the court.

The court also summoned chief secretaries of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday, and ordered the Sindh chief secretary to appear before the Karachi registry.