Murad raps Punjab govt, IRSA

KARACHI - Sindh Irrigation and Power Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and termed the proposed Chashma hydropower as conspiracy against people of Pakistan and to damage the vote bank of PPP in Punjab. He was answering to the point of orders raised by lawmakers in Sindh Assembly about the project and water flow for Chashma Jehlum link canal approved by IRSA. Irrigation Minister criticized over the role of IRSA giving approval for water flow of 5000 cusecs for Chashma Jehlum Link Canal and warned that if institutions dare to snatch our rights, we will not allow them to do it. He said the Sindh government and the people of province are on same line to oppose the hydropower project on CJ link canal, adding that we have apprised the President of Pakistan, Prime Minister and Federal minister for Water and power about the gravity of situation regarding the controversial project. Earlier, Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo, on point of order, condemned the statement of PML-N spokesman Siddiqul Farooq in which he termed that releasing of water below Kotri downstream in sea as wastage. She said that PML-N want to damage the prevailing harmony among the provinces through their anti Sindh statements, adding that the people living below Kotri downstream are deprived of drinking water due to Punjab governments attitude to not release water below Kotri. Palijo said that the PML-N leadership repeat only charter of democracy, but why they are avoiding implementation on 1991 water accord, which was signed by Nawaz Sharifs government. She also lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and warned that Punjab should stop stealing of Sindhs water share; otherwise the people of Sindh are also ready to go any limit in this fight. Another lady MPA Humera Alwani also spoke on same issue and hit-out against IRSA and Punjab government. Irrigation Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his reply reminded the history of water row between Punjab and Sindh and said that Sindh was not part of negotiation in water treaty in 1960, in which dictator sold three rivers of Pakistan to India. However, in replacement the eyes were held on Indus River, he said and rejected the legality about construction of Chashma Jehlum Canal claimed by Punjab. Sindh Minster pointed out that Chashma Jehlum canal was constructed during dictatorial regime, adding that elected government allowed water flow for it conditionally with prior approval from Sindh Chief Minister. But, later the Punjab government stopped getting consent from Sindh since dictatorial rule of Zia. However, the Chashma Jehlum canal remained close for 171 days during two years of present government owing to strict and constant monitoring, he said. He criticized over IRSA over its recent decision of allocating 5000 cusecs water for Chashma Jehlum canal, saying that Balochistan government has terminated the services of their member IRSA who supported the water flow for CJ canal. After termination of Balochistan member, a legal hitch persists about the decision of IRSA which were made on majority vote, he said, adding that Sindh will ask IRSA to review the decision of water flow for CJ canal. He too demanded that Balochistan should sent to jail to their IRSA member who voted in favour of water flow for CJ canal and tried to fight between the provinces. He reiterated governments stance that Chashma Jehlum canal is illegal and not a single drop of water should go in it. He made it clear that NEPRA has not given generation licence for hydropower project, saying that Sindh has taken up the matter with the President, Prime Minister and Federal Minister for water. He said that 20 percent tariff proposed for hydropower project was risk for Pakistan as no water would be available for controversial project. He blamed that Punjab Chief Minster and his government was behind this conspiracy, declaring that we will not make them succeed in their plot. Meanwhile, MQM members were left the house at 12pm to attend the final rituals of calling mother of their party chief. Sindh Assembly took up only question hour, however speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro fixed Friday as Private members day.

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