Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda in the National Assembly on Wednesday accused the previous government of stealing water from Sindh by shutting telemeters through verbal orders.
While responding to a notice moved by PPP members calling attention to the issue of a water shortage in the province, Vawda said he wanted to inform the House that he had caught onto the alleged theft of water committed by the PML-N government.
The minister said the 58 per cent less water than required was being supplied to Sindh.
He claimed that water telemeters were deliberately closed by the previous regime under Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to deprive Sindh from its share of water.
"If I have to request other provinces to be more generous regarding the provision of water for Sindh, I will," Vawda asserted.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader alleged that the telemeters had been shut down after the issuance of verbal orders, and that the supply of water to the province was being measured manually.
"Nawaz Sharif robbed the rights of another province and stole their water," he claimed.
The minister alleged that along with stealing money, the government had stolen another province's share of water.
The PTI leader said he would meet Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah to find a solution to the issue.
"I will proceed shoulder to shoulder with the Sindh government on this issue," he said.
Abbasi, Vawda at loggerheads
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi responded to the comments made by Vawda saying that the minister had alleged that Sindh and Balochistan's water was being stolen and given to Punjab, which he said was a serious allegation.
Abbasi said that a special committee of the House regarding the allegations should be created or it should be sent to the relevant standing committee for deliberation. He said that it should be found out on whose order water from the two provinces was being stolen and given to Punjab.
"We also have a lot to say, but the respect of the House should be maintained," he said.
Vawda interjected, saying that no committee would be created and that he would himself present any report on the matter in the House. He added that there would be no compromise on any sort of theft.
Vawda warned that if that if there was theft, he would use "non-parliamentary" language and that his actions would also be "non-parliamentary".
He alleged that the PML-N had stolen from all organisations, to which Abbasi responded: "Look at his tone and his choice of words."
He said that if Vawda used the word 'thief' again, he would call him and his father the same.
The former prime minister alleged that "those who stole the election" were using the word 'theft' in every conversation in an attempt to distract from their own actions.
During the exchange of words between the PML-N and PTI lawmakers, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed jumped in, also accusing the opposition of being "certified thieves".
Saeed demanded that that if there was rigging in the election, it should be made evident. He added that everyone knew who had engaged in rigging in the previous election.
PLM-N members raised a ruckus in objection to the comments made by Saeed, saying that they should also be given an opportunity to speak and began chanting slogans in favour of their party while Vawda was speaking.
The minister for water resources called the attention of the NA speaker to the behaviour of the parliamentarians, saying that the session could not continue this way.
Vawda once again joined in the back-and-forth, saying that even if Abbasi called his father a thief, he would remain silent.
Saeed taunted the opposition, saying that all PML-N leaders and their family members were either arrested or absconding.
In the Panamagate case, Saeed said, every member of the Sharif family had shifted blame onto each other, and in the end, the blame was shifted to the late Sharif patriarch.
He claimed that it was not the PTI but the PML-N government that was responsible for the economic crisis Pakistan was going through.
He added that the National Assembly session is broadcast on television and wondered what people would think.
The NA session has been postponed till Thursday evening.