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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered the federal government on Thursday to furnish a comprehensive step-by-step implementation strategy for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams in the country.

A four-member Supreme Court implementation bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also asked Attorney General Anwar Mansoor to get instructions from the federal government for regular allocation of funds in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for uninterrupted execution of the projects. The government has to come up with a complete plan by Dec 24.

On July 4, the Supreme Court had ordered the opening of the account with a direction to the federal government, Wapda and the executive authority to take effective measures in the light of unanimous decisions of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to develop 4,500MW Bhasha dam and 700MW Mohmand dam.

Tells AG to get instructions from government for regular allocation of funds in PSDP for the purpose

During the hearing, the CJP also inquired about the fate of a tunnel in the Babusar Top in Gilgit-Baltistan believed to be necessary for logistic purposes for reducing time.

But the AG explained that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) had secured a stay order from the court concerned against the construction of the tunnel by the Chinese.

The CJP, however, held out an assurance that the apex court would take care of the stay, but cautioned that not a single penny of Rs8.4 billion so far collected through public donations would be allowed to go waste or be spent in any other project other than the exclusive purpose for which the fund was established.

“We will ensure that the amount so collected was secured and the purpose of the collection was to create awareness among the people about the imminent scarcity of water which has now become a campaign in the country.

“We, the judges, are also accountable for the funds,” the CJP observed and asked Wapda authorities to create a website to inform people about the money being spent on the project even if a pencil had to be purchased.

Referring to devaluation of the Pakistan rupee, CJP Nisar ordered the AG to ask the government to take measures for stopping depreciation of the rupee against the dollar.

He also asked the AG to be the focal person in the matter and take the court into confidence in case any hiccup occurred in the execution of the project.

The court also asked the government to inform the court of its plans if it intended to create some company and issue bonds for generating funds internationally for dams.

Justice Faisal Arab also asked the AG to furnish a cut-off date from when the execution of the project would commence and also suggest measures for reducing de-silting of dams.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan highlighted the demand of Wapda for ensuring adequate funds at the end stage of the project when the money would be needed the most for timely completion of the project.

The court recalled that the government intended to initiate Mohmand dam first and that the court should also be taken into confidence in this regard.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2018

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