A legislator of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) has asked the government to verify reports of a few turbines of Diamer-Bhasha Dam being purposefully fixed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) territory.
“This is a cause of concern for Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B),” said Didar Ali, an independent lawmaker, who alleged that it is an attempt by K-P government to get a share of the dam’s royalty. He said that if the reports are true, the federal government and the Water And Power Development Authority (Wapda) should undo the act immediately.
Ties between the K-P and G-B were strained after the former passed a resolution claiming rights of over 8km land near the Diamer-Bhasha Dam. According to experts, if the claim is accepted, K-P will be entitled to 50 per cent of the dam’s royalty.
Minister for Works, Bashir Ahmed, who belongs to Diamer valley, said that the case of K-P’s land claims has been moved to the boundary commission for settlement. “We too will be pleading our case after consulting with the elders of our area and scrutinizing available records,” said Ahmad, who has been a member of a committee looking after various formalities of the dam for the past year.
Meanwhile, a senior lawmaker of Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid, Mirza Hussain, demanded that the Anti-Corruption department should be extended to G-B to “arrest rampant corruption” in the region.
He said that the G-B government had received Rs9 billion in the recent past, “but nobody knows where it has gone”.
He said that the government must take the initiative to curb the trend or else the region will go bankrupt.
Law Minister Wazir Shakeel endorsed Hussain’s stance, saying that G-B needs National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Anti Corruption Department with full authority in the region. “Though these departments have offices in G-B but have limited resources and manpower,” he said.
Shakeel, however, rejected Hussain’s allegation of misappropriation of Rs9 billion of government funds. He explained that around 80 per cent of the budget had to be spent on project left incomplete by the previous government.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2012.
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