Ali v. Federation of Pakistan (Supreme Court of Pakistan 2016)

Jurisdiction: Pakistan

Side A: Rahab Ali (Individual)

Side B: Federation of Pakistan (Government)

Core objectives: Injunction against development of Thar Coalfield

Rabab Ali, a 7-year-old girl who lives in Karachi, is the named petitioner in a challenge to various actions and inactions on the part of Pakistan's federal government and on the part of the Province of Sindh (where Karachi is located). The Petition, filed directly with the country's Supreme Court, alleges violations of constitutionally protected Fundamental Rights, of the Public Trust Doctrine as it relates to Pakistan's atmosphere and climate, and of rights relating to the environmental degradation expected to result from burning coal to generate electricity. In support of these allegations, it highlights that Pakistan's government has acknowledged the reality and consequences of climate change with the National Climate Change Policy of 2012 and the Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy of 2013. While the Petition alleges a variety of specific acts or omissions by Pakistan's government, its chief focus is on the approval of a plan to develop coal fields located in the Thar desert region, located in the southeast corner of the country. That development is anticipated to increase Pakistani coal production from 4.5 to 60 million metric tons per year, with a commensurate increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It is also expected to displace residents in that region, and to lead to environmental degradation both directly (through water quality impacts) and indirectly (through air quality impacts from coal combustion). As the Petition notes, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the source of investments of $1.2 billion for both coal field development and for the development of multiple coal-fired power plants in Pakistan.
Case documents

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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