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Imran Khan thanked CJP for his dam campaign

17 September, 2018

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KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday expressed his alarm at the water scarcity threatening the country and urged the nation to get united on the issue before it is too late.

“Pakistan can head towards acute water shortage disturbing its food security in 2025 as per capita water availability has been reduced to merely 1000 cubic meter now,” he told a dam fund raising event here. He announced that the government would strive to construct Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams in its five-year term and appealed to the countrymen to actively participate in the campaign for collection of funds for dams by making generous donations.

However, he made it clear that the task was possible only 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. He regretted that the past political leaderships back-burned the burning issue while focusing on short-term matters for political benefits.

The prime minister said the country had only two major dams at present, compared to China’s 84,000 dams and India’s 5,000 dams. In two-and-a-half month’s period, 80 per cent of the water flowed out of the country due to lack of storage capacity, he regretted. “During 60s, cheap electricity was generated through hydropower units, but under the short-term arrangements in 90s, the power plants were shifted on the costly imported oil,” he said.

The prime minister said an amount of Rs 30 billion has to be collected every year for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams fund. “I am the greatest fund raiser in the history of Pakistan. We have to meet our target of 30 billion rupees every year and I assure you that we will meet more than our target as all Pakistanis have been mobilised today,” he said.

The prime minister observed that when the public and the government own each other, nothing remains unfeasible. Referring to the 2010 floods which affected the whole country, he said the entire nation contributed to the rehabilitation process, which surprised the world community. Now the countrymen have gathered for the construction of dams, he said, adding the work on the Mohmand Dam would also commence simultaneously.

Imran Khan especially mentioned Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for the initiative and thanked him on behalf of the countrymen for starting the campaign for construction of dams.

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.

During his address, he vowed to address the issues faced by Afghan refugees and the families who migrated to Karachi from Bangladesh. He also announced to grant citizenship rights to the children of Afghan refugees and Bangladeshi migrants who were born in Pakistan.

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.

Earlier, chairing a meeting on law and order situation in Karachi here at the State Guest House, the prime minister took strong exception to the cases of abduction of kids in the city. Expressing concerns about reported surge in street crime in the metropolis, he called for coordinated efforts to purge the city of criminal activities. He sought a coordinated action against the criminals and called for urgent recovery of the abducted children.

Karachi, he said, was the financial capital of Pakistan and the federal government would continue to offer full support to the provincial government for maintaining law and order in the city. The prime minister observed that overall situation in Karachi had improved significantly due to the devotion and sacrifices of the law enforcement agencies. He also appreciated the role of Rangers, police and other law enforcement agencies in restoring peace in Karachi.

Expressing concern over the water issues of Karachi, the prime minister emphasized the need for enhanced coordination between federal and provincial governments regarding the co-funded projects. He extensively reviewed the federal government-funded projects in Karachi and directed their completion within the stipulated time.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the State Guest House.

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