Selling shares for dams through open bid will benefit Pakistan, say experts

Lahore: Water experts and economists believe that inviting open bids for the construction of dams and floating shares in the market would not only solve the problem of water’s scarcity but also boost national economy.

The Prime Minister in his recent address to the nation accentuated the urgency of building new dams in the country, Prime Minister Khan stressed that there was a need to avert the looming water crisis confronting Pakistan.

In his address to the nation on September 7, Prime Minister Khan termed this water crisis to be the biggest issue of the country and sought assistance from overseas Pakistanis to help overcome it.

Khan said that it was crucial for Pakistan to build dams as failure to do so could be detrimental to its future generations. “I promise to protect every penny of your hard-earned money,” the PM said.

“If we have the funds, we will be able to construct the dams in five year”, he continued, adding that if we do not construct these dams, Pakistan would face severe droughts by 2025.

PM Khan said that the country has an average water storage capacity of only 30 days, as compared to 190 days of India and 1000 days for Egypt. Rs1.8 billion has already been raised for the construction of dams, he added.

In conversation with Shams ul Mulk, former chairman of WAPDA (Water and Power Development Authority) about PM’s appeal to local & overseas Pakistanis for contributing funds for dams and its impacts, he        says, “Everything is priced and sometimes that price is worthy!”

He said Pakistan is a water-deprived nation and there is scarcely any water left for fulfilling basic needs or daily water requirements.

In 1960 the Mangla and Tarbela dams were formed as a result of the Indus Water Treaty to meet water consumption and requirements of that time, which as of now marks a stupendous difference.

Undoubtedly, the water need has been raised to unmet levels. “Sadly, we are wasting 196 billion rupees as the price for not building Kalabagh Dam. Each and every person opposed to Kalabagh Dam should equally be held accountable,” said Mulk.

This country is beautiful and stocked with ample natural resources but we don’t capital to tap into. Shortage of power and water crises is a serious concern to worry about. The day we will realize its importance we will riot in the streets for dams, he added.

“I am glad that we, as a nation are blessed to have Imran Khan as our prime minister as he is the first PM in the world around, who focused upon the country’s first “poverty elimination initiative” and raised voice” says Mulk.

“When we are blessed with resources, we should utilize them better and unite to work upon them collectively for the betterment of this country.”

“We are treating our water in the same manner in which an absentee landlord is treating his land, not worrying about the consequences and later claiming that someone has occupied his property!” He adds.

Emphasizing upon the dam initiative by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and PM, the former chairman congratulates the nation on a massive level of success. He says that one cannot imagine how much beneficial this decision can be for the nation as the energy mix comprises upon three major generations; Hydel Rs 1.5/unit, Gas Rs 7-9/unit and thermal energy Rs 10-18/unit.

One can easily imagine the massive revenue that would be generated if Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dam were to be constructed, potentially causing a huge boom to our economy, said Mulk.

He said not only for Pakistan, but this initiative is equally attractive worldwide, according to Mulk’s analysis, it’s plausible that China will purchase all its shares in near future. Even the rest of the countries would surely be interested in this matter if PM announces it across the board.

Talking to Truth Tracker, another former Chairman WAPDA, Lieutenant General ® Zulfiqar Ali Khan said that it’s a very good policy by PM Imran Khan because in west the interest is 1 – 2% but we will give more interest to them. It is equally helpful in foreign exchange and in national interest. Its worldwide impact is surely positive as PM Imran Khan is supervising this project himself.

Economist Dr Qais Aslam about Saudi’s investment in Diamer and Bhasha dam says, “Though, we are dealing with water crises and economic challenges, it is equally important to critically think about foreign relations and evaluate if our ties would get weak or strong in near future.”

He said that a 100 km Silk Route would be occupied by the construction of this dam. Construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam is already a conflict because of CPEC as silk route is involved. It could be built easily only if China does not have any objection with Saudi’s investment as China and Saudi Arab are from two different blocks.

“Unfortunately, we have never raised our resources on national level. Sui gas was the best gas for petrochemical industry and we should have used other cheaper gas to supply to the people instead. But we have wasted the opportunity.”

He raised plenty of questions like: Why only Saudi Arabia should invest in our dams? There is no exceptional expertise that we can only have from them. Why are we sharing our gold profit with them? What are our strategies based upon involving Saudi Arab?

He said that Pakistan should not be specific in this regard, instead it should invite for open bids for all.

“There is a rule for Capitalism; let the best person win. and we should follow it”, quotes Aslam.

He said that it is too early to analyze the result for these strategies till the next 20 years. “We are already dealing with divided economy and poor strategies therefore we should keep national interest on the forefront.”

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