ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a timeline from cement factories operating nearby Katas Raj pond to make alternate arrangement for water and said that the court could pass an order to ban the operation of sub-soil wells drawing water close to the pool.

The apex court said this while taking up a suo moto case about the fast depleting water level of the Katas Raj pond. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar also issued a notice to Evacuee Property Trust Board Chairman Sadiqul Farooq raising doubt about his appointment.

At the same time, the chief justice said he has called a meeting of chief justices of all high courts to deal with legal disputes arising out of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“The CPEC is such an important project for Pakistan,” Justice Nisar said. The top judge said that the CPEC project was afflicted with many conflicts, therefore, he has summoned the chief justices of high courts on Saturday in Islamabad.

The apex court had taken the suo moto on media reports that the Katas Raj temple complex pond was drying up because cement factories nearby were drawing a huge amount of water through sub-soil wells, severely reducing the water table in the area.

The court noted that due to sub-soil wells, bored by the cement factories, the pond water was drying up. It sought a timeline from the factories to make alternate arrangement for water and directed the factories that after the timeline, they will not be allowed to draw water from sub-soil wells, causing the shortage of underground water in the area which was also creating difficulty to the residents.

The bench also sought a complete profile of EPTB Chairman Farooq, raising doubt about his appointment. “There should not be political nepotism,” the chief justice said, questioning why he (Farooq) was holding slot of the ETPB chairman when his term had ended.

"How long will he remain in the office based on the prime minister's favour?" the chief justice asked. "Appointments should not be made based on personal preferences and political affiliations," the top judge said.

The court also expressed concern over exporting of lime-stone to India. Justice Umer Atta Bandial said that instead of sending raw material abroad it should be used locally and fine products should be exported. The court also sought a report on how much lime-stone has been exported.