Delaying tactics

It appears that the anti-dams political lobby with their remote control in federal government bureaucracy and banking institutions is bent upon to damage a national cause. The delaying tactics applied in opening bank account for donations to Diyamir basha and Mohamand Dams Fund give credence to this notion. Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian saqib Nisar on Monday expressed displeasure over the perceived delay on the part of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in opening bank account under the title Diyamir Basha and Mohamand Dam Fund 2018 for generating financial resources for the construction of two dams.

“It took the SBP three days to open the account,” the CJP observed during a hearing of case. He said an impression was being created as if it was the government and not Supreme Court which had opened the account for generation of funds for construction of two dams. The Chief justice took a Suo moto notice against the Ministry of Finance for opening up a bank account to receive donation money sent by the public for construction of dams.

The top Judge remarked that SBP is giving an impression that the government has set up the bank account for donations. “These funds are arranged by the Supreme Court,” Justice Mian Saqib Nisar clarified. However, bench of the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction over the response of public for sending donations for the construction of dams. The finance secretary Arif Ahmad Khan has been asked to appear before the court.

The CJP said that people were yearning to donate generously for the fund but SBP instead of playing a facilitating role it was creating hurdles and difficulties for them by giving an impression as if the people were not coming forward to deposit money in the account opened by the Supreme Court. He said people were sending messages that they can not trust the government and would not like to transfer their funds into the account of finance ministry. He made it clear that the Supreme Court will ensure that no kickback or commission is siphoned off during the process of construction of two dams. CJP Mian Saqib Nisar dropped the hint that next two Chief Justices to take personnel interest in this matter. The fund created on the court orders can receive donations from both domestic and international donors and contributions from abroad.

The donation process for the construction of two dams has gained momentum. Chairman Senate, Sadiq Sanjrani donated Rs. 1.5 million from personal account. He has set an example for political elite to contribute to this noble cause, notwithstanding the fact that Pakistani political elite has never cared for supporting initiatives of nation building. The track record of the leadership of PPP and PML-N and their allies in power sharing has not set any such precedent for the welfare of the people. It remains to be seen how PTI leaders respond to it.

The military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor announced that armed forces would contribute to Diyamir Basha and Mohamand Dam fund. He said the officers of the army, navy and air force would contribute their two days pay for the national cause.

In a related development Chairman WAPDA Lt General (R) Muzamil Hussain met Caretaker Prime Minster Justice (R) Nasirul Mulk and assured him that construction work on Diyamir Basha and Mohamand dams will start during the current fiscal year. In a detailed briefing, he informed the Prime Minister that other mega hydropower projects including Tarbella extension VI, Dasu stage II, Bonji and Kurram Tangi dams are ready for execution. Pakistan is facing acute water shortages and heading towards a water starved country by 2025. Hence construction of big and small dams is the only priority which has been deliberately neglected by the successive elected government since the decade of mid 70s. To avert the calamity of water starvation, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has to take a lead role in tackling water crisis and nation building.



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