Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday appealed to the countrymen to actively participate in the campaign for collection of funds for dams by making generous donations and announced that the government would strive for the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams in its five-year term. However, he made it clear that the task was possible with the active participation of the public, contributions from the expatriates and the continuation of the cash flow as the government did not have required financial resources out of its tight monetary budget allocations.
The prime minister was addressing a dams fund raising event here. President Dr Arif Alvi, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Finance Minister Asad Umar were also present on the occasion. Imran Khan highlighted the importance of the construction dams and storage of water for irrigation purposes and said unless the whole nation was galvanized for the purpose, it would be too late for the future generations.
He regretted that the past political leadership turned the burning issue as a back-burner while focusing on short term issues for political mileage during their five-year terms.
The prime minister said the country had only two major jams when compared with China which had 84000 dams whereas India had 5000 dams.
In two and a half months period, 80 per cent of the water flowed out of the country due to lack of storage capacity, he added.
The prime minister said during 60s, the cheap power supply was achieved on hydro power units and later in 90s, under the short-term projects, the power projects were shifted on the costly imported oil. He expressed his alarm at the water scarcity threatening the country. Pakistan, he said, could head towards acute water shortage disturbing its food security in 2025.
He said the per capita water availability had been reduced to merely 1000 cubic meter.
The prime minister said the country’s debt figures, which were Rs 6 trillion some 10 years back, had now jumped to Rs 30 trillion, while the government had to pay Rs 6 billion per day in the debt servicing. He also especially mentioned Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar for the initiative and thanked him on behalf of the countrymen for starting the campaign of dams’ construction
The prime minister also observed that when the public and the government owned each other, nothing could be unfeasible and referred to the 2010 floods which affected the whole country, but the entire nation contributed to the rehabilitation process, which had surprised the world. Now the countrymen had gathered for the construction of dams, he said, adding the work on the Mohmand Dam would also commence simultaneously.
The prime minister assured that the federal government would fully support the ongoing efforts for the revival of economic activities and maintaining of the law and order in the port city of Karachi. He said Karachi had been the financial capital of the country and regretted that in the past, its ownership was not claimed by the ruling political forces. The city of lights would now contribute to the financial and economic stability of the whole country, he added.
He also mentioned the water and waste disposal issues in Karachi as the huge challenges. The prime minister said he received a briefing on the street crimes in the port city and it appeared that the under-privileged and uneducated class were involved in the same.
He also assured addressing the issues being faced by the Afghan refugees and families migrated from Bangladesh in Karachi.The prime minister reiterated that change could not occur unless there was change in minds and justified the government’s move to part ways with the colonial style of governance and living.
In a short period, huge donations worth millions of rupees were made by the participants in the Prime Minister-Chief Justice Dams Fund raising campaign.