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Imran seeks funds from expatriates to build dams
September 08, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday appealed to Pakistani expatriates to contribute $1,000 each for construction of dams in view of looming acute water scarcity.

“If any overseas worker can’t make this amount of contribution, he or she may give any sum for the purpose,” he said in his brief televised message and added that the Pakistani expats to contribute generously in the government fund to build dams in a bid to overcome the water crisis.

“If we do not build dams, then as per experts Pakistan would face severe drought by 2025; we would have no water for crops. So we must start building dams right from today.”

The prime minister said there is no question that “we are faced with several significant problems, but the biggest problem we currently face is the water crisis.”

Warning of the rapid depletion in Pakistan’s water resources, the premier said the country would face drought-like conditions by 2025 if immediate steps were not taken.

He commended Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for starting the dams fund, and said this was not his job. “This was the job of civilian leaders who knew this was going to swell into a crisis but did nothing to thwart it. I want to take over the fund-raising and want overseas Pakistanis to contribute like they used to do for the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital.”

Imran said he will safeguard your donations against misuse. I know not every overseas Pakistani will be able to give $1,000, especially the ones working in the Middle East. To them, I would say that donate as much as you can. But the overseas Pakistanis in Europe and the United States, I want them to send at least $1,000 or even more if they can.”

He cited the example of Egypt, which he said had launched a similar drive to build dams using its own resources. “They were not getting any external loans; no one will give us any loans from outside either,” he said. “We already have so many loans that we are finding hard to repay, so no one is going to loan us anymore. We alone will have to build this dam, and we can. We just have to make up our minds.”

Imran asserted that construction of dams in Pakistan is vital for the future generations of Pakistan. “Our debt today stands at $30,000 billion. But one of our biggest issues to date is the water issue. When Pakistan was made; every Pakistani had 5600 cubic metres of water. Today that stands at only 1000 cubic metres.”

Imran said storage capacity of only 30 days for water is left in Pakistan; whereas the safe period for water storage is 120 days. “This is why constructing the dam for us is so important.”

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