By Faisal Ali
(Pak Destiny) As the country is facing more serious challenges like water scarcity and food shortage an opposition leader has decided to make these issues a centre of his politics till the Pakistani government wakes up to its responsibility to 220m people.
Young leader of opposition PML-Q – Moonis Elahi – has pledged to become the voice of the Pakistanis to address these issues if not taken up seriously Pakistan will be among the list of those countries struggling to feed its populace in 2025.
A staunch advocate of Kala Bagh Dam to end the water crisis in Pakistan, Mr Moonis is planning to hold awareness seminars and rallies across the country to converge the people from all walks of life on one platform to press the government to impose ‘water and food’ emergency in the country so that immediate steps are to be taken to fight these challenges.
Mr Moonis believes that time has come to wake up the government to address the issues of increasing population, poor water resource management and non-allocation of funds for building a sustainable water infrastructure.
“Someone will have to become the voice of the people. We have decided to raise these issues on all forums and will not sit calmly till those at helm of affairs wake up from deep slumber and launch programmes on emergency basis to address the water scarcity and food shortage issues,” Moonis Elahi says.
According to the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, Pakistan’s water demand will have risen to 274 MAF by 2025 while its water supply will be down to 191 MAF creating an unbridgeable gap of 83 MAF. “Pakistan may run out of water by 2025 if quick measures are not taken up now,” it says. Severe water shortage had already started to put negative impact on the economy and public health.
“We are a water intensive economy. Pakistan’s agriculture won’t survive if water shortage forecasts came true. It is criminal on the part of N-League government not to create national consensus on building the Kala Bagh Dam. The KBD should not have fallen victim to politics… but unfortunately some politicians have their vested interest,” Mr Moonis said.
The PML-Q leader who has been active in raising such issues for quite sometimes, is a parliamentary leader of his party in the Punjab Assembly. He had won from Kunja, Gujrat in last election. The party has planned to have these issues on top of its agenda in coming elections.
The PML-Q’s another top priority for 2018 election will be that of farmers who are immensely suffering because of the PML-N government’s constant neglect.
“Pakistan’s most vital agriculture sector has been sacrificed especially in Punjab for different show-off projects by the PML-N government. Modi-Nawaz nexus has harmed Pakistan’s short and long term food and water security interests. We will not let this happen anymore and safeguard the interest of the farmers,” Moonis vowed.
Citing a report of the International Food Policy Research Institute, he said Pakistan had been ranked 106 out of 119 countries on Global Hunger Index, 2017. “Pakistan is an agricultural country and its current abysmal GHI ranking is because of anti-farmer policies,” he said, adding the PML-N had never raised objections to construction of Indian dams on Pakistan rivers and Nawaz Sharif’s pro-India policies had favoured Indian farmers rather than Pakistan’s.
Moonis is of the view that two issues – water and food security – should not fall prey to politics. “We will consume our all energies for this cause that will not only help avert the future water crisis but also empower farmers who are so far completely ignored by the ruling PML-N. I assure the farmer community that my party is there to protect their interest every where be it parliament or road… we will not rest till they get relief package and other facilities from the government,” Mr Moonis pledges. – Pak Destiny