after pak PM, foreign minister qureshi begs to pakistani americans to donate for dam construction
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Indus Water Treaty Kashmir
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The construction of two dams has become a major policy priority for the new Pakistani government, headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The fact was evident from Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's engagements in the United States, which he is currently visiting.
On Tuesday, Qureshi, who is due to speak at the UN General Assembly on September 29 and meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on October 2, urged the Pakistani diaspora in the US to donate generously to the government's fund for the construction of dams.
Qureshi also held meetings with World Bank officials in Washington and highlighted India's alleged violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.
In 2016, the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) warned that the country may run dry by 2025 if the authorities didn't take immediate action. It said the majority-Muslim country touched the "water stress line" in 1990 and crossed the "water scarcity line" in 2005.
If this situation persists, Pakistan is likely to face an acute water shortage or a drought-like situation in the near future, predicted the PCRWR, which is affiliated with the South Asian country's Ministry of Science and Technology.
But PM Khan's proposal to deal with the problem has come under severe criticism, with many experts expressing their dissatisfaction with the new premier's governance style.
"Building a dam through crowdfunding is highly questionable if not wholly feasible. The Pakistani diaspora, especially in the West, is quite affluent, and in many cases sympathetic to the new ruling party, but that doesn't mean a critical mass of the diaspora will want to or be able to donate," Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told DW.
"The government, by turning to the diaspora, also suggests, even if indirectly, that the country and the government need not take ownership over financing such a large enterprise. Of course, the government clearly intends to draw funding from other sources, too. There's also a political advantage to be derived from mobilizing the country to build a high-visibility project like a dam," Kugelman added.
Pak PM Imran Khan urges overseas Pakistanis for Donations ::
Earlier this month, Khan urged more than 9 million overseas Pakistanis to contribute to the dam fund. The campaign, which was initially launched by the Supreme Court's Chief Justice Saqib Nisar in July, has so far received only $30 million (€25.5 million) in donations.
Pakistan does not have the financial resources to build dams. The South Asian country is in a desperate need for a bailout.