MOHMAND: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that each province should give up 3% of their share from the federal divisible pool for the development of the erstwhile tribal areas as foreign elements were inciting the youth there to violence.
“I have seen a foreign-funded conspiracy is underway to provoke the youth in tribal districts,” PM Imran said while performing the groundbreaking of Mohmand Dam in the Mohmand district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
He said the youth could be molded in any direction if their deprivation and marginalisation did not end. “Hence, it is upon us to support them…,” he said.
The premier reiterated his government’s resolve to help the nation overcome water scarcity. “A water crisis persists across the country because dams weren’t constructed,” he said.
The prime minister called out former rulers for not showing commitment towards the cause.
“Dams are not built due to the fear of elections,” he added, implying that as the construction of dams outlived a single democratic government’s tenure, former rulers did not pursue the matter at all.
PM Imran lauded former president Ayub Khan for building dams. “Even though Ayub Khan was a military dictator, he must be appreciated for his long-term thinking.”
The prime minister maintained that former governments were ‘selective’ in serving their people because they only performed as much as it took to strengthen their vote bank.
“Balochistan and the tribal districts should not have been neglected just because they constitute a smaller portion of the vote bank,” he continued, recounting that the development funds allocated to Punjab were mammoth as opposed to those reserved for the rest of the country.
On the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the premier maintained that it was a ray of hope for the country. “We have to elevate impoverished areas as well as the rest of the country,” he said.
Among other prevailing conditions, Imran cited lack of healthcare facilities and increasing unemployment as growing concerns.
Addressing the ceremony, former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar, who initiated a fundraising campaign for dams, proposed that the monthly costs incurred on constructing the dam along with ancillary expenditure details should be made available to the public.
Recounting his trips abroad to raise funds for the dam, Nisar lauded the Pakistani diaspora for their contributions to the cause.
“Their wholeheartedness towards addressing the country’s water woes is commendable,” he added.
The former apex court judge said the Supreme Court undertook the responsibility for the construction of dams. “I hope to see this project [Mohmand Dam] completed.”
K-P Governor Shah Farman, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, Senator Faisal Javed and MNA Sajid Khan also attended the ceremony.
Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Muzamil Hussain and the project director of the dam briefed the prime minister about the salient features of the project.
The prime minster also visited Tirah Valley in the Khyber district earlier.
The dam is being constructed on Swat River and will be completed by 2024 at a cost of over Rs309 billion. It will have a storage capacity of over 1.2 million acre-feet.
After its completion, the dam is expected to generate 800 megawatts of electricity. It will also bring 17,000-acre barren land under cultivation.
The dam will primarily solve water scarcity in Mohmand district and also prevent floods in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshera districts.
It will also provide 13.32 million cubic metre of drinking water to Peshawar.
Wapda has awarded the contract for civil and electro-mechanical works of Mohmand Dam project to a joint venture comprising China Gezhouba Group of Companies (CGGC) as the lead firm and Descon Engineering of Pakistan as its partner.
The final worth of the contract stood at Rs183.5 billion which is Rs18 billion lower than that approved in the PC-I.