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Agencies
January 8, 2019

Mohmand Dam’s inauguration: CJP angered at government for changing date

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A
Agencies
January 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday censured Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda for changing the date of Mohmand Dam’s groundbreaking ceremony and said the prime minister saw his own schedule and changed the date without considering that they had engagements as well.

Vawda appeared before the court as a bench headed by the chief justice heard a case pertaining to the Nai Gaj Dam. Expressing anger over the change in the date of Mohmand Dam’s groundbreaking ceremony, the chief justice said, “You changed the date without informing us and did not even think it was appropriate to tell the top judge. The government does not even have the courtesy to ask the chief justice on changing the date, now I might not go to the groundbreaking ceremony.

“The prime minister saw his schedule and changed the date, he did not see that we also have work,” he added. Justice Saqib Nisar then asked the federal minister, “What has the government done till now other than the announcement that water will end by 2025? We are collecting funds for you.”

In response, Vawda said, “I apologise to you on behalf of the government.” Expressing his displeasure, the chief justice said, “Now tell the prime minister to go to inaugurate Mohmand Dam himself.”

At this, Vawda insisted, “No, you will have to be a part of it. We will invite you for the inauguration and I will request you to come.” Justice Nisar then remarked, “The prime minister does not know how many matters are pending.”

Further, the top judge said that during the next hearing, all four ministers should appear in court and inform it regarding what needs to be done about the Nai Gaj Dam. “The matter has been pending since 2008. If you don’t want to construct this dam, then tell us. We took up this case when there were incapable people in power, now the government has qualified and capable people.” After the government assured that it will grant initial approval for the project by Thursday, the SC adjourned the hearing till Friday.

Earlier, during the hearing, the chief justice said, “The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) is not in contact with us. Wapda thinks it has got independence and will works as it pleases. The Supreme Court will supervise the construction of the dam not the Ministry of Water Resources or Wapda.”

Justice Nisar inquired, “Tell us, when you want to inaugurate the project and initiate work.” The attorney general responded, “One dam will be built in 2027.” At this, the top judge remarked, “The prime minister said that Pakistan will run out of water by 2025. It is your government and there is no cooperation among institutions.”

The attorney general then informed the court, “The total estimate of the dam is Rs1,450 billion.” Justice Nisar then asked, “Did the government ever think where the money for the construction of the dam will come from? We never said that the dam can be built through funds but that a campaign will start and it has.

“Today, a man gave a cheque of Rs1 million. It is in my pocket,” the chief justice said and showed the cheque to those present in court. “This is the passion with which work is done,” he added.

“The only work you people do is that you appear on TV shows and give statements against one another. If there is any dispute over the Diamer Bhasha Dam, the Supreme Court implementation bench will hear it, no other court of Pakistan can hear this dispute,” he added.