It is indeed generous of a nation to have blind faith in its judiciary as well as the system, and to choose to pay heed to the call of a former chief justice and donate in their capacity for the much-debated Dam Fund.
Initiated almost a year ago by the then top judge of the country, the fund not only earned the former chief justice the label of a ‘populist’ for allegedly taking over the job of the government and the political leadership, but also remained surrounded by uncertainty for political reasons, structural incapacity and most importantly the will of the nation to donate enough to achieve the $14 billion target to fully cover the cost for the building of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
Now that Prime Minister Imran Khan has lauded the nation for touching the Rs10 billion mark as dam donations, the initiative still stands afar from taking the face of reality more when the former Supreme Court chief justice himself recently declared that the purpose of the dam fund was only to create ‘awareness’ over the important issue of water scarcity. In retrospect, the funds collected are equal parts of donations given at will and at compulsion as penalty for legal cases against some of the political and bureaucratic bigwigs.
The PM along with the praise for his people should have said a little on the future of the fund too, as Pakistanis regardless of their naivety over the internal politicisation of the dams and water issue look forward to a strong response with a coherent policy to address the issue of water scarcity in the face of Indian aggression and global climatic changes. Initiated by a top judge in his tenure and taken over by the PTI government, the dam fund might be put to use by the next government only, if at all.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2019.
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