NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that building dams is the job of the legislature and government, through consensus.
Talking to journalists at Zardari House here on Wednesday, he said there was not a single country in the world where the judicial branch of government had constructed any dam. Therefore, the job must be left to the government, legislature and executive.
He was apparently referring to the chief justice’s repeated calls for the construction of dams to face the challenge of future water crises.
“If three provincial assemblies have rejected the construction of a dam and their own report says that the dam will not be feasible when India is opposed and criticised for undermining the rights of lower riparian areas, then the same argument should be considered for dams at home,” he said.
Bilawal said that it was the PPP which constructed small dams in Sindh, but there was a need for consensus for the construction of other dams.
Opposes postponement, boycott of elections
Answering a question, he said there had been a water crisis in Pakistan and the PPP had been struggling to overcome it since the time of Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister.
He said the federal government did not support the PPP on that important issue and there was no other political party to raise the issue.
Bilawal said Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa never introduced any project for water whereas the PPP had been seriously working on it as 1,800-kilometre-long canals had been lined, which would save water; 2,000 reverse osmosis plants were installed to make water sweet and drinkable. Asia’s biggest water filtration plant was installed in Nawabshah whereas no filtration plant was installed by any other province.
He criticised the Indus River System Authority’s role and said that the PPP regularly raised the issue on the floor of the assembly. However, as the elections were approaching, every party was talking about water crisis.
‘No reason to postpone elections’
He said he was in the field and campaigning with his election manifesto, but the others who had not presented their manifestos might want a delay in elections so they could rig and win. Otherwise there was no reason for postponing the polls.
Bilawal said he had been receiving an overwhelming response from the people since he left Karachi. “The rivals did a lot of propaganda against the PPP and thought they would make the people believe their lies, but they got a clear message that the people were with the PPP and wanted a people’s government,” he said.
Answering a question, he said the PPP wanted free and fair elections on time.
In reply to a question about a post-election alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, he said it would be really difficult owing to the PTI policy on terrorism, water, democracy and their views about Benazir Bhutto.
He said the people were not with any puppet alliance, politicians, nor they wanted any puppet government. “Those who talked about division of Sindh and those who wanted to save Sindh are together without any manifesto and agenda,” he said.
‘Smooth second democratic transition’
He said the PPP had always struggled for democracy and would never step back from it. “Pakistan has progressed towards democracy and it is a success that Pakistan is going for a smooth second democratic transition and the elements against democracy are united to sabotage it but the people are with us,” he said.
He asked those forces to leave it to the people as any threat or pressure would not work and the people would elect the party they wanted.
Answering a question about a possible boycott of elections by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Bilawal said the PPP had always discouraged boycotts and had earlier advised the PML-N not to boycott elections and if they (PML-N) foresaw their defeat, it did not mean they should run away from the race.
He said that every party should be in the race and the decision should be left to the people.
Earlier, he was warmly received by party workers and supporters at Khan Pump on Sanghar Road, where he arrived at around 2.30am.
Addressing the gathering, he said the PPP had carried out huge development works throughout Sindh.
Bilawal later reached Zardari House, where he stayed overnight and left for Sakrand at around 3pm. His caravan would proceed on the National Highway from Sakrand to Qazi Ahmed, Moro, Naushahro Feroze, Khairpur and would stay overnight at Sukkur.
Later, speaking to party workers and supporters at Sakrand, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari praised sacrifices of the people of the town for democracy during the MRD movement.
He said that it was his first election and he was among the people with a promise to continue the vision and mission of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and serve the people.
He said the comprehensive manifesto of the party had solutions to the problems of inflation, energy shortage, poverty, education, health and water.
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2018