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The Pakistan Supreme Court’s Use of Suo-Motu Actions in Environmental Cases

April 2011

Citation: 41 ELR 10326

Issue: 4

Author: Aamina Islam

Natural resources, such as clean air and water, are public resources shared by all, yet owned by no one in particular. Since public resources are not sold in a free marketplace, they have no free market value that takes into account factors such as scarcity and environmental degradation. However, if such public goods are carelessly used without any rules governing their use, such resources inevitably succumb to the “tragedy of the commons,”2 under which resources that are free or available to everyone may be ruined by abuse or overuse. To avoid or mitigate this, some level of control will be necessary through government planning, by implementation of rules and regulations, or by good governance.

Aamina Islam is an Advocate in the High Court of Pakistan.

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