All of those ill disposed towards Imran Khan who have joined the chorus of a bevy of politicians plaguing for decades the progress of Pakistan with their vested interests are now at the forefront of campaign to undermine sincere efforts of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar buttressed by that of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s towards national interest case- Diamer Bhasha Dam- of utter neglect.
The accomplishment of the case unprecedentedly taken up by CJP with the incumbent PTI Government, being concertedly pleaded and pursued by PM and CJP in form of PM-CJP Dam Fund as a noble cause in true national interest would prove to be nothing short of attaining the impossible in the face of an avalanche of staggering economic problems thanks to the previous regimes’ dismal governance and deliverance. Alarmed by persistent water woes coupled with ensuing fear of drought by 2025 “Pakistan ranks third amongst countries facing water shortages”, according to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report. When compared with its neighboring countries in terms of number of dams Pakistan with barely below 10 considerable dams lags far behind India with 3200 and China whopping 84000 large and medium dams. If gauged through per capita water availability, it reflects an alarming water situation in Pakistan which calls for immediate measures to mitigate issue of shrinking water reservoirs as well as alarming drop of underground water level.
Water availability per capita in Pakistan has depleted to a level of 1017 cubic meter tons – very close to 1000 cubic meters, which is considered as an alarming situation and is called scarcity threshold, whereas, it was 5000 cubic meter at time of inception of Pakistan. The gross negligence towards an all important concern about national water resources aggravated by misplaced priorities is evident from the sorrow fact that over the past 30 years not a single major dam has been added to the existing meager number of the same to reconcile with the present day requirements to help underfed people. This dereliction of duties rendered an already feeble agrarian economy of the country destitute of dams.
In a nutshell, the story paints a grim picture of criminal negligence of political predecessors in power, in watercolors of misplaced priorities. Adding insult to injury, recently, In pursuance of the typical adversarial politics, some politicians are taking jibes at Imran Khan over aiming to construct dams with help of donations, while they do not bother to know that donations, as a matter of fact, are being treated as the most necessitated complementary component of the total funds base required to water the withered nation. The close minded lot construes dam’s construction through the fundraising drive, a sincerely envisaged initiative of CJP and advanced by PM as panhandling and an uphill task. These critics seem to suffer from memory loss as they forget the “Qarz Utaro, Mulk Sanwaro” (Repay debits for country’s prosperity), drive orchestrated by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif back in 1998 soon after assuming the office after the 1997 elections, where Sharif was extending the begging bowl to the same masses as were coned out of their tax money by elected governments through money laundering and other corrupt financial practices.
The utilization of the proceeds collected from the public remains a mystery till date as neither this money was used for debt retirement nor its audit was conducted as required under the law with regard to use of public funds. The secret still intrigues those who contributed their valuables and money to an ill-conceived drive.
While, contrary to the phenomenon, PM Imran Khan has solemnly assured potential donors, philanthropists of guarding each and every penny donated by them as fiduciary.
Those seeing dam fund through the prism of bias are actually to blame for rendering Pakistan a water stressed country feared to be counted among water scarce countries in case more dams are not constructed on emergency basis and if water not conserved. While some arbiters also haste to finding faults with Diamer-Bhasha Dam citing technical reasons, others sorely seek to be accredited with accomplishing the spade work of dam construction i.e land acquisition, feasibility report; though a large part of responsibility is to be apportioned to them for the looming drought, current water woes owing to sitting on the fence void of political will merely to save their politics. The long standing Kala Bagh Dam dispute can best be exemplified in this respect in addition to the fate of Diamer-Bhasha dam.
All we need to beware that parched rivers and canals coupled with scarce water reserves, God forbids, could spell dehydrated agricultural fields entailing squeezed yields thus extending begging bowl as dependency to other countries to feed the above 40% malnutrition hit children in particular, people in general for no good reason.
So, keeping in view gravity of issue corroding the agricultural part of economy, the display of grit by CJP and PM, taken for retrieval of a serious water situation which escaped attention of politicos in the past, should be seen in a positive light. It is something of a drive of self reliance serving as a catalyst to materialize the idea of Diamer-Bhasha Dam to start spree of dams construction.
Before the threat becomes a reality, let’s rise above self interest, political or otherwise , shun differences, share the vision, and do contribute from our pockets, even if a single penny or millions, as well as by standing by CJP and PM so the project see the light of day. Moreover, civil society and philanthropists should also lead from the front to bolster the national cause involving human existential issue. Similarly, every patriotic Pakistani in their respective roles and capacity is supposed to rally around the motherland to steer it out of the predicament and help it live the way we long to live in it. Urging and encouraging peer groups for donating, arranging fund raisers, telethons, and other activities of this ilk could prove a boon to boost the sacred mission.
So, this is high time to reciprocate the blessings and bounties our motherland has afforded all of us with flooding the PM-CJP Dam Fund with generous donations in order to rescue gasping Pakistan and save posterity from want of water.
Let’s we all be on the same page in this hour of need and don’t give a damn to dam fund critics and make Diamer-Bhasha Dam sans foreign loans and aids to make a history.
Let’s make dam’s construction a Dutiful Act Memoir.