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October 15, 2018

US dam diaspora donations amount to 0.0030pc of total


October 15, 2018

WASHINGTON: Despite prime minister's appeal to generously contribute funds for the construction of Diamir Basha Dam, the Pakistani diaspora across America has managed to send a little over three hundred thousand dollars so far which becomes almost 0.0030 percent of the total $14 billion estimated amount, The News has learnt through official sources.

The campaign to collect contributions from the general public started in mid-July after the Chief Justice Saqib Nisar announced the fund, though the campaign took pace when Prime Minister Imran Khan asked for more donations in early September.

In a widely televised address, the prime minister had appealed overseas Pakistanis especially in Europe and the US to send minimum a thousand dollar. "Those working in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East should send any amount they can contribute but Pakistanis in Europe and the US should send at least $1000, which will not only help us build dams but also get dollars as we are facing shortage of them," he had said.

He also renamed the title of the bank account set up by the Chief Justice for the purpose. "It's not the Chief Justice's job. It was the work of political leaders who should have thought for provision of the dam funds," he had said adding that Rs180 crore were collected in the Chief Justice's fund. He then merged the account to call it, "PM-CJ fund for Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam." Most of those contributions, until then, were collected from private citizens or taken out from salaries of government employees. Officers and soldiers of the armed forces also contributed their two-day and one-day pay respectively for the fund.

During the first ten days after the appeal was first made by the chief justice, the funds collected from the US were some 1,800 dollars, according to the break down available with The News. The next seven-day period saw a plunge; but it did surge once the PM asked for more contributions. Meanwhile, the Embassy of Pakistan also sent out letters to notable Pakistanis living in the US urging them to donate money. "Pakistani diaspora in USA is encouraged to generously contribute for this national cause," the letter said. It mentioned the purpose and account details established for raising funds.

The first day after the PM appealed for funds in early September, the National Bank's branch in the US collected more than 6 thousand dollars, a week later it jumped to more than 92,000 dollars, and a week after it went up to 105 thousand dollars. However, two week later the funds slowed down again. Since July, the amount gathered from across the US and sent to Pakistan through official channels by the National Bank's branch has reached over 3 hundred thousand dollars, which then was added to the official tally.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan's dedicated web page for keeping score of the donation status says that the amount collected so far from domestic and overseas contributions has touched almost Rs5 billion; which is around 40 million in dollars.

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