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September 18, 2019

Aab-e-Pak Authority starts working sans any elected member


September 18, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority, a body meant to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the people of Punjab, started functioning after its chairman and other members of the Boards were announced by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on Tuesday.

General (r) Ahmed Nawaz Saleem Mela has been made Chairman of the Authority whereas Secretary Housing and Public Health Naseem Sadiq will serve as its Chief Executive Officer.

Renowned businessman Gohar Ijaz will head the Central Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority and will also head the HR department whereas, Mian Talat Mahmood will be head of the finance committee and Rabia Zia will head North Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority and Social Media. South Punjab zone of Aab-e-Pak Authority will be headed by renowned businessman and former District Nazim of Multan Faisal Mukhtar whereas Khurram Mukhtar will head Procurement Committee.

Secretary Local Government Syed Waseem Raza, Secretary Planning and Development Muhammad Ramzan, Secretary Finance Abdullah Sumbal will also be the part of its Board.

This is interesting to note that in the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority, not a single MPA or MNA from Punjab has been inducted and its Board comprises of ex-serviceman, serving bureaucrats as well as businessmen. The Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority Bill was passed by Punjab Assembly and interestingly, no one representing the August House has been made part of it. Announcing the names of the Board of Aab-e-Pak Authority, Punjab Governor, who is also its Patron-in-Chief, stated that it was time for companies providing substandard water to people to ‘pack up.’

He said provision of clean drinking water to the people of Punjab was a big challenge as due to non-availability of fit and safe water, 50% people was combating health issues whereas a lot had died.

“Private companies who are selling drinking water in Punjab will be issued licence after investigation and inquiry by Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority” said the governor. When asked why not any elected member has been made part of the Board, the governor replied that the need of hour was to set a precedent that could be continued by the coming governments. He said instead of politicising this body, prime focus had been on serving and ensuring the provision of fit, clean drinking water to the population.

“We want this project to stay free of all the political influence and that is why did not appoint any MPA or MNA as the board members of the authority instead people with good professional reputation from different walks of life will work in this project” said the governor.

He said that records of all the government and private filtration plants in Punjab was being compiled to check the quality of the water provided by them. Sarwar said that past governments allocated funds worth billions for the provision of safe drinking water but they all were swept away because of corruption and even today cases of such projects are under trial in NAB and other institutions.

"I assure the people of Punjab that there will not be a corruption of single penny in this project and it will be completely corruption-free" he added.

The governor said he had summoned Wasa MDs from all the districts of the province, including Lahore and demanded briefing on the filtration plants installed to provide clean drinking water to public.

He said that as a Patron-in-Chief of Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority, he assured that we will make this project such an institution that no upcoming government will even think of scrapping it. “We will deliver on the promise of PM Imran Khan to provide clean drinking water to every village, district and city irrespective of rich and poor” he said.

Sarwar regretted on the fact that thousands die every year because of no access to clean drinking water and today public is demanding safe drinking water more than employment because until the people get clean drinking water they would keep on getting affected from Hepatitis and different fatal water-borne diseases. He referred to his role behind establishing of Rescue 1122 and Overseas Commission Pakistan. “I have never compromised on merit and transparency in my whole life and will not do so in future” said Sarwar. Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority Chairman Ahmed Nawaz Mela said that there was no doubt that provision of clean drinking water in Punjab was a big challenge for us but the way Ch Sarwar had upheld merit, transparency in appointments of responsibility to board members and heads of the authority, it would fully deliver.

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