By Syed Atiq ul Hassan
The Pakistani nation has been ravaged by rains and floods today. All Pakistanis, whether they live in Pakistan or outside Pakistan, are collecting donations for the flood victims. Some people are using this fundraising campaign as a means of campaigning and gaining exposure. Pakistan’s coffers are empty, and the government is run by incompetents, thieves, and looters, so there is nothing in the public treasury that can help the victims, nor are other countries willing to assist them.
During Pakistan’s bad times in the past, many countries and friends provided enormous assistance, but that aid didn’t reach the victims and
the rulers didn’t learn from it. As a result, millions of foreign aid dollars went into the bank accounts of corrupt government officials and politicians.
There are 5,334 water dams (reservoirs) in India today, the third most after China and the United States. The United States has approximately 10,000 water reservoirs. There are 23,841 large reservoirs in China, Pakistan’s biggest neighbour, accounting for 41 percent of the world’s total water reserves. Even, there are 350 large reservoirs and 12000 medium and small reservoirs in Sri Lanka.
Over 75 years have passed since Pakistan was founded, and yet it only has 73 reservoirs. There is perhaps no other country where a new project to build a dam is politicized before it is started and then only visible in government records.
Kalabagh Dam was a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Indus River in the Mianwali district of the Punjab province of Pakistan. After more than 50 years of heated debate on ethnic and regional lines, this mega project ultimately failed. It would have saved rural areas, farms, and especially the populated villages of Sindh along the river and canals if this great water reservoir had been built, and it could also have generated at least 3600 megawatts of electricity at the same time. Pakistan’s energy needs could be met by electricity alone. This magnificent national plan was not implemented by the politicians of Sindh and Baluchistan. Pakistan is a nation that suffers from unfortunate circumstances.
Flood victims cannot be helped every year, and countries cannot run on aid, donations, or beggars. For how long have overseas Pakistanis supported Pakistani victims financially? There is no permanent solution to saving the poor people of Pakistan living on the banks of rivers and canals and elevating the living standards of the common rural population with annual aid, donations, and beggars from other countries. The only solution is to build as many reservoirs (dams) as possible so that the natural water coming from the mountains in the north is stored instead of crossing the entire country of Pakistan and going into the Arabian Sea so that this water is considered a blessing from Allah and can be used for irrigation and electricity purposes.
In Sindh and Baluchistan, so-called nationalist groups and their leaders say that they will give their lives but will never allow the Kalabagh Dam to be built- what an illiterate class. The same ridiculous and ignorant leaders are now asking the world for financial assistance because these flood victims have drowned in water and have nothing to live on, they are dying and lying under the open sky.
Pakistan will never be prosperous with projects of national interest until its government is headed by sincere, competent, patriotic, and people-loving leaders. There is a need for Pakistan to launch projects of national interest above filthy politics and conflicts between provinces. Without it, Pakistan will continue to be humiliated in the world and eventually become bankrupt. It will not take long for the superpowers to justify banning Pakistan from possessing nukes, and Pakistan will eventually be dismembered. Pakistanis have also behaved in such a way that they have no right to spend more than 60% of the public treasury on defense and nuclear programs when more than 60% of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line and dies as a result of natural disasters and poverty.
Pakistani rulers have not learned any lessons from the separation of East Pakistan. India and Bangladesh have stronger economies and currencies today than Pakistan. Those countries in the region that invited Pakistani experts in the mid-sixties and mid-seventies to lay the foundations of new projects in their countries, and set up economic projects, such as Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, where are these countries today? And where does Pakistan stand today?
Currently, Pakistani leaders seek financial aid from other countries. If they do not correct their mistakes and just rely on the support of Allah, then Allah will not change the condition of this nation until it does not do anything for itself. (The writer is a Sydney-based journalist).