CJP says dam fund initiative a movement for humanity - Daily Qudrat Global

CJP says dam fund initiative a movement for humanity

LONDON: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar has said the dam fund initiative has become a movement for humanity and a movement of this magnitude cannot be rolled back easily. Addressing a fundraiser in London arranged by UK-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the chief justice said the fund for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams is public property, adding, "I will make sure to hand it over to secure hands before I leave." He said when people realise that their future and the future of their children is at stake, then they own the movement. "I don’t see any reason why it will fail after my retirement. I cannot imagine that anyone will even imagine closing it down or even think about it." Justice Nisar said the initiative is for humanity and it is related to lives of tens of millions of people. He said the fact that no dam was built for 40 years was criminal negligence. The chief justice proposed a re-imposition of tax on prepaid mobile phone cards to collect fund for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams. He said: "It will not be appropriate to impose taxes to collect funds for the construction of dams, however, we had earlier suspended the withholding tax on prepaid cards by cellphone services providers and learnt that through this Rs3 billion were saved per month." "If the nation allows, then we will re-impose the tax on prepaid cards and collect money for the dam fund." The top judge urged the nation to put forth their viewpoints on his proposal. "The nation should apprise us of their thoughts on this proposal." Terming not constructing dams earlier as criminal negligence, he said, "A dam needs to be constructed on every inch of Indus River." Further, Justice Nisar expressed hope that "one day all four provinces will be in agreement over the construction of Kalabagh Dam. "Karachi’s water crisis made me realise how crucial this issue is," he said. "Tanker mafia and some others have been controlling the water supply in Karachi and in Lahore and Quetta, and the level of underground water is decreasing." Stating that he wants to secure the future of the coming generations, the chief justice said, "The construction of dams is no longer only Pakistan’s campaign but humanity’s." He once again reassured that he will safeguard every penny donated to the dam fund and that he will "leave the nation’s money in safe hands" before he retires. "I will make a company to ensure this," Justice Nisar said. "These funds are a loan from the nation and I will hand them over to a trustworthy man before leaving." He further thanked the government and those who have contributed to the dam fund. The top judge lamented that the country had been negligent towards building dams on river Indus and said, "We will build a dam on every inch of Indus. "River Indus belongs to us under the Indus Water Treaty," he said. Justice Nisar said the country has spent much time deliberating construction of essential reservoirs and now the time has come to build dams on the river. He said that water is a hope of life for their coming generations and they have to take steps to save water from being wasted. The chief justice said climate change has reduced rains across the world, including Pakistan, as a result of which underground water level is falling very sharply. He said the decreasing water level in Pakistan has affected daily life in all big and small cities, noting that water level in Lahore has fallen to 400 feet while in Quetta it has fallen to more than 500 feet. Justice Nisar said during a visit to Karachi, he took suo motu notice against illegal water hydrants and also took action against water mafia, which was selling water to the citizens at a very high price. He said the dam fund campaign has remained highly successful. "All including children and elderly persons are enthusiastic on the issue of construction of dams. This is not an ordinary situation but it has become a campaign now." The chief justice further said that Sikh community from foreign countries, transgender community, children and elderly persons have donated in the dam fund. At the fundraiser, the UKPCCI pledged to donate £1million for the fund. "Be it earthquakes, floods or the Dengue challenge, British-Pakistanis always come forward to help their fellow Pakistanis emotionally as well as financially," Kamran Khan of UKPCCI said. "We have vowed to raise one million pounds for the dam fund." He went on to praise the efforts of the Chief Justice Nisar, saying, "The need for dams has been talked about for more than a decade, but plans to practically collect funds and to materialise the construction were given a new drive not by water experts or ministers but by Pakistan's honourable chief justice." A record amount of £2.3 million was raised for the construction of dams at the Geo Television Network’s live telethon from Manchester.

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