ISLAMABAD : The National Assembly on Tuesday approved a resolution for the construction of new dams in the country.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking on the floor of the House said, “The whole nation agrees that we are facing a major water crisis.”
“The country will plunge into darkness if new water reservoirs are not made,” he added.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader further assured, “If Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies oppose the construction of Kalabagh Dam then we will respect their reservations.”
However, Pakistan Peoples Party expressed reservations against the construction of Kalabagh Dam and party MNA Nawab Muhammad Yousuf staged a protest.
“We approve of the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam but not of Kalabagh Dam,” Talpur asserted.
Collecting funds is a positive step: Khawaja Asif
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif supported the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam.
“Collecting funds for the construction of dams is a positive step,” he said.
“The matter of construction of dams should not be politicised,” he added.
Asif continued that the water policy which was signed by all four provinces in April 2018 included the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dam. “The agreement clarifies everything regarding the dam,” he added.
“The water policy issue was under consideration since 2013 and was finally resolved in 2018 and the credit for that goes to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N),” the PML-N leader added.
Delving into details, Asif said, “Rs150 billion were spent on Bhasha Dam of which Rs122 billion was the cost of land and Rs23 billion were fixed for it annually.”
“The dam will be completed in nine years. However, if you want to speed its construction then the yearly cost will go up from Rs23 billion to Rs40 billion but it will be completed in the next five to six years,” he continued.
Further, Asif stressed that along with dams water reservoirs should also be constructed.
Responding to Asif, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “There is no confusion regarding the construction of dams. All four provinces signed an agreement in 1991 in this regard and we accept that as well as the agreement mentioned by Asif.”
“An unnecessary discussion has been initiated,” he said while adding that the viewpoint of all four provinces needs to be respected.
The foreign minister further said, “In the last 40 years, governments came and went but no headway was made.”
“For the first time, the chief justice and prime minister sought help from the nation and for the first time the nation is extending support on such a matter which is why there is no confusion regarding the construction of dams,” he added.
“Pakistan’s future will be dark if the issue of dams is not resolved,” Qureshi continued.