Saving environment.

FORMER caretaker prime minister Balakh Sher Mazari passed away earlier this month. Besides our friendship around the Punjab Club, I will always remember him as the prime minister who, in 1993, held the first meeting of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council (PEPC).

That meeting adopted, in my presence, the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) for Pakistan for the first time; a pioneering step towards implementation of the then applicable Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance, 1983, which was subsequently replaced by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997.

The 1983 ordinance established the PEPC and required it to hold at least two meetings each year. The president of Pakistan was the president of the council under the 1983 Ordinance. As the draftsman of the ordinance, I had included this requirement following the experience of the Philippines where president Ferdinand Marcos, as the head of the Philippines Environmental Protection Council, had led several environmental initiatives.

I was appointed a member of the PEPC in 1983 (and continue to date), and because there was a statutory requirement provided in the 1983 ordinance for the council to hold at least two meetings every year, I wrote to Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the president of the council, to hold such a meeting.

His office contacted me and informed that it was against the 'protocol' to ask the president of Pakistan to call a...

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