Imran warns of drought threat, appeals for dams’ donation

Published: September 7, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday appealed to the countrymen, especially overseas Pakistanis, to generously contribute for building new dams.

In a brief pre-recorded address to the nation, Prime Minister Imran described the ongoing water crisis as the biggest challenge confronting the country. He warned that if new water reservoirs were not built within seven years, the country would be facing a drought-like situation.

“Overseas Pakistanis, especially those living in European countries, should contribute at least $100 to the PM/CJP’s fund for dams,” Imran said.

No foreign country, he said, was willing to lend more loans for building dams because the country was already overburdened by heavy foreign debts.

“I have been briefed by (various) government departments about the challenges being faced by Pakistan on the economy and energy fronts. But in my opinion, the biggest challenge the nation has been facing is water scarcity,” the prime minister said.

He said at the time of the country’s independence, every Pakistani was able to use 5,600 cubic metres of water that had now reduced to just 1,000 cubic metres.

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Highlighting the country’s dwindling water storage capacity, he said water stored in the country’s reservoirs could last just 30 days.

“India has a 90-day capacity while Egypt’s (reservoirs can provide water for) 1,000 days. According to international standards, the safe capacity level is 120 days,” Imran said while citing various statistics.

“Contribute generously. I assure you that I will protect your money for the fund,” he said, adding that contribution in foreign exchange, especially the US dollars, would also help improve the fast-depleting domestic foreign exchange reserves.

He said right now, the government did not have enough money to build dams, but if the nation supported the government in this endeavor, Pakistan could build a dam over the next five years.

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He said the Prime Minister’s Fund for Dams would be merged with the Chief Justice’s Fund. According to him, Rs1.8 billion had so far been collected in the Chief Justice fund for dams.

Praising the chief justice of Pakistan’s initiative, Imran said this should have primarily been tackled by politicians.

“But the political leadership never paid (any) attention to this issue,” he said, adding he had also talked with the chief justice in this regard.

The statement comes hours after the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) issued the second drought alert for the year, and advised all the stakeholders to be ready to handle the situation as it is expected that dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated areas of the country due to limited supply of irrigation water for Kharif crops.

The prevailing drought-like situation is likely to worsen in the coming days mainly due to insufficient rainfall during summer and monsoon season in lower parts of the country.


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Reader Comments (23)

  • Rex
    Sep 7, 2018 - 8:25PM

    “I promise to all of you, I would guard these funds and all money would go towards construction of dams”
    The promises of someone who has been called “U-turn Khan” are worth nothing and will convince no one. Case in point- Atif Mian nomination to EAC and his subsequent removal. That was a huge let-down to those who believed in his previous promises. After the Atif Mian episode, it will be more difficult to convince people in future.

  • Nadir Sadiq
    Sep 7, 2018 - 9:12PM

    After Atif Mian incident I would not give funds on PTI call, we should donate but in CJ fund. Being a staunch PTI supporter I have been hurt. My head hangs low in shame.Recommend

  • Aamir
    Sep 7, 2018 - 9:16PM

    I appreciate the step and i am happy that our nation is showing seriousness in this project.
    We all should contribute, this is the need of time.
    i am not an overseas Pakistan, i am living here in Karachi.
    i have done my contribution and will continue doing that and i request local and overseas Pakistanis both to contribute any amount possible.Recommend

  • SS
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:13PM

    What is the website to donate? There should be a easy and fast method of donating? IT experts around the country should help the government modernize this process. Recommend

  • husain
    Sep 7, 2018 - 10:20PM

    Wow this is a huge joke. Dams cannot be financed through charitable contributions. They cost way too much money. Only governments can afford to finance dams through tax revenue.

    Futhermore if water is so scarce how about making water consumers pay the full price of the water they consume? Water subsidies and water theft must be stopped. Asking overseas Pakistanis to subsidize Pakistani water and electricity thieves is not the way to fix the economy.

    What is the finance minister and economic advisors doing if the PM is talking like this? Is this the advise they are giving him? This is no way to manage the country’s economy!Recommend

  • Zafar
    Sep 7, 2018 - 11:53PM

    Dear IK, take another U turn. Bend backwards like you did on economy advisory board.

    Wanna build a dam from donation? Are you serious. This is the reason why you needed people like Atif Mian.Recommend

  • Dr. Asjad Iqbal
    Sep 8, 2018 - 12:33AM

    The question of dams is a long one. One political party or another will object to them. ANP vows to take extreme measures if the federal government takes a step it doesn’t like. Similarly PPP will object to dams being made upstream on the pretext that Sindh won’t get enough water. Nevermind that in case of heavy rains, there is massive flooding in Sindh.Recommend

  • Maham Junaid
    Sep 8, 2018 - 1:07AM

    After the Atif Mian episode, I have lost my confidence in this government. I along with my family voted for PTI. In fact I came back to Pakistan from Toronto just to vote for PTI in the 2018 elections, but, with a heavy heart, I do not trust this government. Recommend

  • mian hussain ifzal
    Sep 8, 2018 - 1:34AM

    Mr Khan owns properties worth billions,bana galli zaman park mianwali to name a few.He should sell these properties and deposit the proceeds in Dam fund and set an example for all the Pakistanis.I hope he realizes that life for ex pats is also very difficult.Once the PM sets an example every ex pat and Pakistani will deposit every single penny of their savings in Dam fund. Recommend

  • Bharat
    Sep 8, 2018 - 9:33AM

    Imran has shown true leadership here. Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits given to Chinese they should gift dams free of charge to PakistanRecommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    Sep 8, 2018 - 10:20AM

    The theory was true all along. Pakistan was being run on aid – specifically US aid, all these years. Without American donations, Pakistan is on the threshold of bankruptcy.Recommend

  • Nothing_Changes
    Sep 8, 2018 - 10:21AM

    So this is the “naya Pakistan” that Imran Khan promised !!
    Instead of taking the “kashkol” abroad, he is asking it locally.Recommend

  • Shabir Khan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 10:35AM

    Reinstate Mr Atif Mian before you will my one thousand buck plus. If you cannot so do I buddy. . Recommend

  • Ahmed Farooqi
    Sep 8, 2018 - 10:36AM

    Please send me the complete Dollar Bank Account with Bank name and address.
    Ahmed FarooqiRecommend

  • Afzaal Ansari
    Sep 8, 2018 - 10:42AM

    Good step for surviving through public donation appeal by the PM. The process of donating and utilization towards the dam construction should be transparent and it should not be the formate of previous “qarz utaro” movement by the then Govt. Recommend

  • Salman
    Sep 8, 2018 - 11:11AM

    Obviously you are ignorant about the issue. CJ has already said that 20% of the required amount will be generated through donations over the period of 7 years while 80% will be provided by the govt through annual budget every year. 20% is 2.5 billion dollars. Recommend

  • bashir gul
    Sep 8, 2018 - 11:42AM

    I worked for over 3 decades in the Gulf and remitted forex regularly to Pakistan. I even got a Gold Remittance Card for sending over $10K in a year. But now I am retired since 8 years and a senior citizen and I can’t even get water in 8 weeks.Recommend

  • fazal khan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 12:02PM

    Ok mister indian we do not need your lectures on our prime minister which is far better then your your own pm modi butcher (of gujarat) a criminal that is ruling, take your own hindutva hardcore terrorist prime minister and compare with imran khan. you will see the difference and this will silent you in shameRecommend

  • fazal khan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 12:07PM

    We will contribute and its better for the country. you ask anyone in malaysia they trust imran khan will lead this nation to a new heights Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 8, 2018 - 1:19PM

    First get:

    1) Pakistanis in Pakistan to start paying taxes

    2) The corrupt bureaucrats to donate $1000 each

    3) Recover the wealth looted by Zardari and SharriffsRecommend

  • rehan
    Sep 8, 2018 - 4:08PM

    you can donate via sms and from any bank branchRecommend

    Sep 8, 2018 - 4:12PM

    Suppose 10 overseas Pakistanis send $1000 each. then in one go other Pakistani leaves for Dubai with $10,000. So where is the logic on this? The government must impose restrictions on these transfers for individuals going abroad and ban all import of non-essential goods. Otherwise, it all seems like a similar farce as before.Recommend

  • M. Osaja Rizvi
    Sep 9, 2018 - 10:27AM

    If i am not wrong , the figure that you mention in your 3rd Paragraph – is $100 , instead of $ 1000. , I think you should amend it.

    Thank youRecommend

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