Imran Khan calls on overseas Pakistanis to help solve water crisis

Islamabad [Pakistan], Sept 7 : Terming water crisis as the “biggest problem” in the country, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday appealed to the Pakistani citizens living abroad to come forward and donate to the dams fund set up by the country’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
Addressing the nation for the second time, Khan said, “There is no question that we are faced with several significant problems but the biggest problem we currently face is the water crisis. I am taking presentations on every issue of the country.”
He underscored that it was vital to build dams for preventing the crisis to worsen further and warned of the rapid depletion of Pakistan’s water resources.
Blaming the previous governments for taking action to resolve the issue, the cricketer-turned-politician added, “I want to commend Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar (for starting the dams fund), but this was not his job. This was the job of the (previous) political leadership who knew this was going to swell into a crisis but did nothing to thwart it. We are deciding to launch and join the PM fund with the CJ fund. They have raised (Pakistani Rs.) 180 crores so far.”
He expressed concerns over the falling levels of water resources, saying that the level now stands at only 1,000 cubic metres.
Khan elucidated, “Our debt today stands at Rs. 30,000 billion. When Pakistan attained freedom, every Pakistani had 5,600 cubic metres of water. Today that stands at only 1,000 cubic metres. We have a storage capacity of only 30 days for water, whereas the safe period for water storage is 120 days. India has a capacity of 90 days. This is why making the dam for us is so important.”
He pledged overseas Pakistanis to contribute as much as they can to the dams fund in dollars to start building dams and plug the country’s depleting foreign exchange reserves. He underlined that if each individual sent USD 1,000, it would be enough for the government to build the dams.
Khan further said, “There are 80-90 lakhs overseas Pakistanis. If each one of you sends 1,000 US dollars, we will have money to build the dams, and we will have dollars to bring into Pakistan to fix our reserves so we do not need to take any loans. I promise that I will safeguard your donations (against misuse).”
“If every overseas Pakistani takes this responsibility we will be able to build this dam. Because we didn’t have money to make the dam before, the price of building it kept rising over the years,” he added.
The 65-year-old cricketer-turned-politician had highlighted the water crisis in his first speech last month, saying that a ministry would be formed to resolve the issue.

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