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National

September 10, 2018

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Diamer-Basha Dam: Funds to be collected in a year: PTI leader

ISLAMABAD: As overseas Pakistanis have assured support for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership is expecting the required funds to be collected in a year.

While speaking on Geo News show Naya Pakistan, PTI leader Iftikhar Durrani said the target would be met if it is considered a challenge that Pakistanis can also achieve something.

Present on the same show, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Muhammad Zubair said a market strategy needs to be devised to raise funds for the dam. However, he added, assistance from international donors would be required to gather 85 percent of the amount for dam.

A number of overseas Pakistanis have promised to donate funds for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam, after Prime Minister Imran Khan requested for their assistance for the purpose in his televised addressed to the nation on September 7.

Some were of the view that the premier should personally meet overseas Pakistanis to collect funds, saying it would gather him more support.

On the other hand, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed announced a new tax worth Rs1-10 on different train tickets.

The additional money generated through the 'dam tax', which Rasheed estimated to be valued at Rs100 million annually, would be handed over to the dam-building fund, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

Sheikh Rasheed announced that a new tax worth Rs1-10, varying according to different ticket prices, would be added to the price of train tickets as the Ministry of Railways' contribution towards the dam-building fund.

The federal minister was speaking here at a deal-signing event where the Ministry of Railways and the Jamshoro Power Company Limited (GENCO-I) made an agreement on coal supply.

The additional money generated through the 'dam tax', which Rasheed estimated to be valued at Rs100 million annually, would be handed over to the dam-building fund, led by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the chief justice of Pakistan.

"Railways will donate Rs100 million to the dam fund annually," he tweeted.

"The price of Rs100 ticket will be hiked by Rs1 in order to collect money for the dam fund."

In today's world, "if a beggar is given Rs10, they would throw it away," the minister said. "So this would become the Ministry of Railways' contribution to the dam fund."

When asked as to why people were being forced to pay out of their own pockets instead of the ministry itself, he said: "I'm Sheikh Rasheed, not Malik Riaz, the Sheikhs always make such decisions."

On a separate note, Rasheed welcomed the fact that Pakistan's civil and military leadership are on one page. He also noted that the employment tenure of information technology industry's contract officers was being extended by a year.

In response to a journalist's question about his marriage, the 67-year-old said there was no truth to such rumours.

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