PML-N claims ownership of initiating Mohmand Dam

Accuses PM of trying to take credit, assails him for ‘ruining’ economy

Saqib Virk May 02, 2019
Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: EXPRESS.

ISLAMABAD: Accusing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)–led government of trying to take credit for the Mohmand dam, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday said that the project was initiated during the tenure of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“It is strange that the new government put their credit labels on projects introduced by former governments. It was the PML-N which allocated funds for the project in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP),” said PML-N members of National Assembly (MNA) Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal while addressing the media outside the parliament on Thursday.

“The inauguration of Mohmand dam is yet another political drama. The current government is also trying to get credit for the Neelum Jhelum project,” they said.

Khawaja Asif said the PTI has put the country on the path of economic ruin with misguided policies, leaving it on the brink of bankruptcy. He said there was a stark difference between the achievements of the PML-N and the PTI in its first year in power.

“During the PML-N government, the development didn’t just occur on paper but funds were allocated for developmental projects, which were then monitored for implementation,” Asif added.

The PML-N is considering protests after the holy month of Ramazan to highlight their concerns including current government projects, which he said deserved immense criticism, he added.

Responding to a question, Asif said that the idea was given due consideration, with street protests identified as an alternative if their voice was not heard in parliament.

He also accused the government of unfairly treating the country’s biggest province. “Only Punjab was targeted when the local government system was revised. The province is being subjected with discriminatory treatment,” he said.

Echoing Asif’s thoughts, Ahsan Iqbal maintained that it was the PML-N which revitalised the dead projects of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams, while accusing the current government of using the issue for political gains.

“It is saddening that the former chief justice [Saqib Nisar] spent Rs13 billion of the funds on the advertisement campaign of the dams,” he said. He also criticised Justice (retd) Nisar for ‘imprudent expenditure of funds collected for dams’.

“A dam, unlike a mosque, cannot be built from donations. The campaign run by Saqib Nisar tarnished the world image of our country,” he said.

He also accused the federal government of depriving Punjab of its due mandate. “Dr Ishrat Hussain [Adviser to PM] has lauded the development agenda of the former government in Punjab. However, the government in power in Punjab has brought development in the province to zero,” he said.

He also took a jibe at the ongoing accountability drive, saying the government was using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to crack down on its rivals – big and small.

“Local government representatives in Punjab are being targeted through a black law. Imran Khan wants to stampede the voice of the opposition. We will not allow Imran Khan to morph into a monarch,” he said.

He also criticised the hike in medicine prices as well as the government’s attempts to ‘brush under the carpet accountability cases against PTI leaders’.

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