The government and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers on Wednesday traded barbs in the National Assembly after the Federal Minister for Water Faisal Vawda accused the last PML-N government of stealing water of Sindh and Balochistan.
Speaking on an adjournment motion moved by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) regarding alleged irregularities in provision of water to Sindh, Vawda claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif deprived the province of its due water share by switching off the telemeters.
“The former government intentionally stopped using telemetry system through verbal order to avoid giving due share to Sindh. At present, manual gauges are being used in place of telemetry system due to which the actual figures are not clear,” Vawda said.
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The minister claimed that he could also present evidence of water theft. He said he will also meet Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to find a solution to the issue. “There is a good understanding between me and the Sindh CM on matter of water share of the province,” he added.
“[The PML-N supremo] Nawaz Sharif not only looted the public money but also deprived other provinces of their rightful share of water,” Vawda added.
Reacting to the allegation, the PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi proposed forming a special committee or referring the matter to a standing committee for investigation before holding anyone responsible. Thorough investigation into the matter will reveal real culprits, he added.
Abbasi said: “The people [referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] who stole the July 25 general elections are now clamoring about theft of water to hide the theft [of people’s mandate].” He also asked Vawda to watch his tongue, warning that otherwise he would also resort to personal attacks.
Minister of State for Telecom Murad Saeed added to the commotion by saying that those found involved in looting even a single penny of the nation must be hanged at D-Chowk in Islamabad.
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“Nawaz Sharif is a certified thief. It is because of these people that the country is now facing an economic crisis,” he said. “The PTI government is determined to make Pakistan corruption free and will hold these people accountable.”
Opposition members repeatedly chanted slogans throughout his speech as the PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah, taking the floor, claimed that the only ‘certified thief’ in Pakistan was the PTI’s Jahangir Tareen, who was also disqualified by the apex court last year.
He accused the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of selective accountability, claiming that the graft-buster has been interrogating the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif for the last one month but has not taken any action against PTI’s Pervez Khattak, Babar Awan, Aleem Khan and PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi.
Water woes of Karachi
Talking about Karachi’s water woes, Vawda said 58% water of the city is stolen in addition to the water wasted due to leakages. He, however, assured the house he will resolve the issue on a war-footing with the support of the Sindh government, adding that Sindh will get its due share as per the 1991 Accord.
“The federal government has been working to immediately resolve the issue of non-provision of due water to Sindh and other provinces according to the 1991 Accord. The federal government is also ready to listen to the suggestions of the parliamentarians on the matter,” he added.
Nawab Muhammad Yousaf Talpur, Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri, Pir Noor Muhammad Shah Jeelani, Zulfiqar Bachani and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also spoke on the issue.
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