ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan made an impassioned appeal to all Pakistanis, particularly its overseas diaspora on Friday to donate funds in US dollars to help the country build dams, as it faced major droughts by the year 2025.
“The future of our next generations will be in jeopardy, if we do not take any urgent steps to build water reservoirs,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an address broadcast on the national television networks and said the country faced a “serious crisis”.
“Construction of a dam for Pakistan today is inevitable,” Imran Khan said and pointed that the country had an average water storage capacity of only 30 days, as compared to 190 days of India and 1000 days for Egypt. He said on an average, a country should have 120 day storage capacity.
He said in 1947, the water storage for each Pakistani was around 5600 cubic meters, while today, it had dwindled to 1000 cubic meters. The prime minister said the experts had already warned about the impact of climate change on Pakistan and said the country was expected to be hit by a drought by the year 2025. He warned that Pakistan would not have any water for its crops and for feeding its people.
“I laud the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar for his initiative for launching funds for the construction of dams.” He admitted that though it was not the job of the Chief Justice to take this step, but it was the responsibility of the political leadership of the country. He however regretted that they failed to do their duty.
Chief Justice Saqib Nisar took the initiative of collecting fund for construction of Diamir Bhasha and Mohmand dams from the people of Pakistan and to build the gigantic projects without any foreign assistance on July 6. According to the information available on the official website of the Supreme Court an amount of Rs 1.9 billion had been added to the fund by this evening. The prime minister announced merger of the Prime Minister’s Fund and that of the Chief Justice and made an appeal to the overseas Pakistanis to send in remittances for the dams in US dollars.
“I urge all overseas Pakistanis to send in at least 1000 US dollars each. Those who cannot send it in one go, they may send as much as they can,” Imran Khan said and added that there were around eight to nine million Pakistanis living abroad.
“We will not only get the money for the dams, but will also get the urgently needed foreign exchange reserves,” the Prime Minister said. He expressed the hope that with the funds available, Pakistan will be able to build the dams in five years.
He said the overseas Pakistanis had always stood by him in the past and supported his initiatives of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Namal College, Mianwali. “We won’t need any loans,” Khan said, “I promise to protect every penny of your hard earned money.”
Imran Khan directed all PTI chapters abroad and all those of other political parties to launch a ‘jehad’ to collect these funds for Pakistan. He said in the briefings he had received in the past one fortnight, he was astonished to find out the quantum of challenges the country faced. He said the total loans the country owed were Rs 6000 billion (Rs 6 trillion) ten years back, but today they had swelled to Rs 30,000 billions (Rs 30 trillion). The water crisis was the most serious crisis confronting the country, he added.