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ISLAMABAD: Residents of the capital have high hopes that the incoming PTI government will resolve the issues it used to highlight as the opposition party in the last five years.

The PTI, which won all three National Assembly seats in Islamabad, is well aware of the problems facing the city’s two million residents, from the water shortage to inadequate healthcare, poor education standards in government schools, garbage collection, poor municipal services and overdue land compensation to affected people in Islamabad.

During the tenure of the PML-N, the PTI raised such matters vigorously – the water shortage in particular – and now has a five-year term in which to resolve them.

After the last elections, the PTI had one MNA from Islamabad – Asad Umar – who managed to retain his seat (NA-54) this time. Party chairman Imran Khan won from NA-53, and Khurram Nawaz from NA-52.

PTI will have to tackle water shortage, inadequate healthcare facilities, low education standards, civic issues in Islamabad

During his campaign, Imran Khan had promised he would resolve the water issue, which Asad Umar also highlighted while electioneering.

To tackle the lack of water, the PTI will have build new dams for the city, whose total demand of 211 million gallons per day (MGD) is not met by the existing Simly and Khanpur dams.

Both dams and tubewells currently provide 60MGD to urban areas, and rural areas rely on old water schemes.

A pending project to conduct water from Tarbela Dam, which is designed to provide 100MGD to Rawalpindi and Islamabad each as a long-term solution to the water crisis, should also be started as a priority.

The capital also lacks enough basic health centres, leaving the two main hospitals – Polyclinic and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) – overburdened.

Government-run educational institutions, barring some, are facing substandard education standards which results in greater admissions pressure on model colleges and schools that are providing relatively better education.

In 32 rural union councils out of a total 50, Islamabad residents do not receive garbage collection facilities, leaving them to dispose of trash in vacant plots or in nullahs.

“Islamabad has been facing many issues. We are pinning high hopes on the PTI to resolve them,” Bhara Kahu resident Abbas Ali said, adding that the PTI should prioritise the water scarcity problem.

Dawood Ahmed, who lives in G-7, said that in addition to highlighting local issues during its time in opposition, the PTI – led by Asad Umar – also held a series of protests regarding the water issue.

“Now it’s high time for the PTI to resolve our issues, as the people of Islamabad voted for them with the hope that this party will deliver,” he said.

Mr Umar also vowed that if elected to power, he would resolve the longstanding land acquisition issues facing Islamabad residents whose land had been acquired by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) decades ago but whose compensation claims were will pending on the part of the CDA.

“We are very well aware of the problems being faced by the people of the capital. We will resolve their issues on a priority basis,” PTI opposition leader in the Metropolitan Corporation Ali Awan said, adding that resolving the water issue would be prioritised.

Mr Awan said most of the issues are connected to the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), which had been neglected by the PML-N government.

“First we will make the MCI a vibrant and powerful organisation to resolve people’s basic issues; we will focus on basic health, basic education and basic development,” he said.

CDA policies and regulations dealing with land issues will also be amended, and policies will be made “which will protect the rights of citizens”.

Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2018