Pakistan a Toxic Jelly State

Re-inventing the “toxic jelly state”

Islam in government and as a political philosophy has proved its inadequacy from the beginning and is hardly the model worth pursuing. Many Islamic societies continue to live in despotism, exploitation and insecurity
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Secularism and Pakistan

http://www.dawn.com/news/1094982/pakistani-secularisms
http://www.dawn.com/news/1094982/pakistani-secularisms/print

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Published 2014-03-23 07:55:36

Like any other ideology, secularism too has produced a number of variants that were moulded and informed by the cultural, economic and social dynamics of the regions that they emerged in.

The central plank of secularism that remains constant across all variants is the separation of church and state and/or the parting of religion and politics.

In Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan however, secularism has largely been denounced (by religious ideologues and sometimes even by the state), as a doctrinal construct that is anti-religion and negates the existence of God.

The advocates of this claim do not differ between secularism that began emerging as an idea in Europe (from the 17th and 18th centuries), and that variant of secularism that was influenced by the writings of Karl Marx, Fredrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse Tung.

Though it began as an entirely intellectual pursuit and was a gradual mutation of the Protestant rebellion against Catholicism, modern European secularism first exploded into prominence during the French Revolution (1789) as an aggressive ideology. It saw the Church and Christian priesthood to be historical tools and avenues of oppression used by exploitative monarchs and feudal lords against the people.

However, by the 19th century, European secularism evolved and balanced itself as an important component of democracy that merely wanted to keep religion within the confines of the church and around an individual’s personal space.

A scientific understanding of history, economics, society and human behaviour was to drive political and judicial legislation and religion was to only furnish an individual’s personal spiritual make-up (or lack thereof).

This secularism does not repress religious belief. In fact it accepts and protects an individual’s right to practice his/her religion as long as they are doing so in designated places of worship, in their private space, and as long as their religious beliefs and rituals are not offending other people’s beliefs, or encouraging violence, or creating any other social, domestic or political commotion.

Western secularism recognises the psychological need and role religions play in certain swaths of a society, but it does not allow this role to take the shape of politics because such a tendency encourages persecution and repulsion against modern scientific, economic and intellectual ideas because they threaten the existence of politico-religious entities.

Such has been the secularism practiced in the West for almost a century now.

On the other hand, the secularism that emerged in countries that witnessed communist revolutions and regimes inspired by the writings of Karl Marx (and later Lenin and Mao), reverted to the radical (Jacobin) secularism of the French Revolution. They attempted to completely squash religious belief and practice, viewing religion to be a counter-revolutionary and intransigent force that encouraged economic and social exploitation and stunted and retarded the evolution of societies.

Western secularism experienced a boost when European nations began to rise as vast economic and military powers. After the gradual decline of monarchism and feudalism in Europe and the advent of democracy there, modernism began to mean economic and political progress based on democracy, science and secularism.

Non-European regions where religion was still deeply embedded in the social dynamics and milieu faced a dilemma when they came into contact with the domineering arrival of Western imperialism and its early secular ideals.

A number of intellectuals and political activists of these regions after observing how resisting these ideals were isolating their people from the economic benefits that these ideals now offered, began to concentrate on how to adopt these ideals without completely discarding those aspects of their cultures and beliefs that were tightly tied to their national, ethnic and religious identities.

In South Asia for example (in the 19th and early 20th centuries), certain Muslim and Hindu reformers and scholars began to develop revisionist scholarly narratives that presented their respective religions to have been inherently modern, progressive and in tune with science.

Some Hindu reformists suggested that Hinduism was inherently pluralistic, whereas the Muslim reformists suggested that Islam was inherently secular because there was no concept of priesthood in it.

Thus began the attempt of many Muslim and Hindu scholars and thinkers to mould their own, indigenous concepts of secularism that ironically derived their variants of secularism from their respective religions.

Thus, when a cleric or a conservative Muslim or a hard-line Hindu describes secularism as an ‘anti-God/anti-religion’ idea, he is almost entirely wrong — at least on two counts.

First, western secularism is simply about the separation of faith and the state (for reasons discussed above). Secondly, secular in both India and Pakistan has largely involved thinkers and advocates who justify the separation of religion and the state by suggesting that their respective faiths encourage such a separation.

In Pakistan secular thought is largely tied to the musings of 19th century Muslim scholar, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who painstakingly demonstrated how ‘scientific reasoning’ and rationality can be used to interpret Islamic scriptures.

He also tried to demonstrate that such an interpretation was closer to the true (rational) spirit of Islam and that faith needed to be a personal matter.

He insisted it was material progress (through the sciences) that furnished spiritual progress.

Sindhi scholars like GM Syed and Ibrahim Joyo went a step further by suggesting that societies where Sufism had played a strong historical role in shaping the people’s religious make-up are inherently secular because the Sufi saints that they follow were highly tolerant and against the orthodox clergy and ulema (who were allied to economic and political forces who were using faith as a cynical and opportunistic tool of exploitation).

In the 1960s thinkers like Hanif Ramay and his group of intellectuals who published a highly influential Urdu monthly, Nusrat, tried to counter the ‘Political Islam’ of Abul Ala Maududi and the Utopian pan-Islamism of Iqbal, by concocting a concept called ‘Islamic Socialism’.

The concept suggested a socialist philosophy that fused modern socialist economics and democracy with the pluralistic manoeuvres of the Prophet (PBUH).

Islamic Socialism claimed that the socialism and secularism that it was advocating was inspired by the ‘Madina Charter’ authored by the Prophet in which he granted widespread rights to non-Muslims and the downtrodden.

But no amount of innovation in this regard has changed the conservative ulema’s views about secularism. The reasons for this seem to be quite apparent. Even the more spiritually-tinged variations of secularism are seen as a threat by these ulema and clerics most of whom were pushed into the mainstream by the gradual politicisation of faith in Pakistan from the mid-1970s onwards.

Land record to be computerised by June 2014: CM

Land record to be computerised by June 2014: CM

LAHORE: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the historic project of computerisation of land record would be completed by June 2014 in 140 tehsils and this modern system would be fully functional in all districts of the province. 
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a land record centre at Lahore Cantonment on Sunday, Shahbaz said that computerisation of land record would eliminate corruption, bribery and forgery in matters relating to land as well as rid the people of the obsolete and exploitative system of patwari and tehsildar. 
He said that nothing was impossible if one was determined enough. He said that Pakistan was facing terrorism, energy crisis and a number of serious challenges, but “living nations come out of all the crises through hard work, honesty and continuous struggle”. 
He said there was a need for self-reformation to change failures into successes and become an invincible nation.
The chief minister said that Pakistan could achieve a dignified status in the comity of nations through determination, honesty and relentless efforts.
He said that the completion of the historic project of Punjab land record computerisation would enable citizens to obtain proprietary deeds of their lands as well as facilitate them in the matters regarding transfer of land, which would be a big change in the system. 
He said that former rulers did not pay due attention to the important project due to which a large sum of public money and time of the nation was wasted. 
However, he said, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government furthered the project of land record computerisation expeditiously and this project would be facilitating the people of the province from June 2014. 
He said that completion of the project would eliminate tehsildar and patwari culture. He said that the government was not against patwaris and tehisldars, but there was a need to change their mentality, which had been a source of problem for the people for centuries. 
He said that despite summaries of government officers, he had not recruited even a single patwari during the last six years, and had appointed honest, hardworking and talented persons though the Punjab Public Service Commission at the service centres, adding that the government had also adopted an effective check and balance system for the purpose.
The chief minister further said that those criticising the welfare projects of the Punjab government were least concerned about the betterment and uplift of the masses. He said that some elements criticised the metro bus project and termed it a jangla bus service, and also remained engaged in the propaganda of expenditure of Rs 70 billion on the project. “Today, 150,000 people are benefiting from this splendid project daily,” he said.
Shahbaz said that promotion of trade and economic activities was essential for the elimination of poverty, unemployment and terrorism. 
He said that Pakistan was facing a serious shortage of electricity, which was essential for promoting agriculture, trade, industrial and economic activities. 
He said that he was fully determined to rid the country of the energy crisis and agreements were being signed with foreign energy companies and investors for the purpose. 
He said that he was confident that efforts in this regard would be successful and the energy crisis would be overcome. He said that the former rulers did not take energy problem seriously and due to their criminal negligence the country was immersed in darkness. 
He said that due to corruption and greed of former rulers, an additional sum of Rs 30 billion from the public money was being spent on Nandipur power project. He said that work was being carried out expeditiously on the project and its one turbine would start operating from May 2014. 
Addressing intellectuals, journalists and columnists who were present at the function, the chief minister said that executive and press go hand in hand and the government takes guidance from analysis and comments of journalists. 
He said that the journalist community would have to play a key role in steering the nation out of despondency. 

How many polio deaths since 1960-70s ?

KARACHI: A four-month old baby suffering from the endemic polio virus has died in Pakistan, doctors and health officials said Wednesday.

The death underscores the problems in eradicating polio in Pakistan, one of only three countries in the world where the highly infectious crippling disease remains endemic.

The death of Amna, a four-month old infant, took place in the low-income locality of Baldia Town in Karachi, the country’s largest city and commercial hub.

Deaths from the disease are rare. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis. Among those paralysed, five per cent to ten per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.

Doctors were unable to verify whether the child died as a result of the disease or due to complications arising from it. However, Elias Durry, the chief of the WHO’s Polio Eradication Pakistan Program, says that polio was “most probably the cause of death.”

Durry said that it was difficult to verify the cause of death as doctors were unable to test a required second sample from the baby.

According to Durry, at least two children in Pakistan have died from the disease since 2011.

Dr Khalid Memon, a private practitioner in Mirpurkhas, said the infant was first brought to his clinic where he witnessed the baby was already suffering from paralysis, a common symptom of polio.

We ran a test and verified the child was suffering from polio, he said. Memon said the infant was referred to a hospital in Karachi but died before a second test could be carried out.

According to Dr Memon, Amna’s mother told him that the family had not allowed their children to be vaccinated by polio workers as they consider the polio vaccinations to be “un-Islamic”.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Pakistan recorded 73 cases of polio this year compared to 58 for all of 2012. This is the highest number of cases as compared to the two other countries with the disease – Nigeria with 50 and Afghanistan with only one in 2013.

In Karachi alone, five cases of the disease have been reported so far this year.

Speaking to Dawn.com on Wednesday, WHO officials confirmed the fifth case in Karachi — an eight month old male child from the city’s Bin Qasim town area.

The officials said all five families had refused to allow their children to be vaccinated by polio workers.

The WHO said it has decided to step up its polio immunisation campaign in Mirpurkhas and Baldia Town area of Karachi on an emergency basis to stop the disease from spreading to other children in the area.

Population Control is no Shame – Pakistan has no oil and Electricity or Gas

fertility in check

-Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed
-Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed

While contraceptives do help with family planning, what really helps is preventing women from marrying very young.A survey in Pakistan revealed that women under 19 years of age at marriage were much more likely to give birth to five or more children than those who were at least 19 years old at marriage. The same survey also revealed that visit by family planning staff did not have a significant impact on reducing fertility rates. Instead, women who watched family planning commercials on TV were much less likely to have very large families.

Being the sixth most populous nation in the world, Pakistanis are also exposed to disease, violence, and natural disasters, which increase the odds of losing children to accidents or disease. At the same time, many consider the use of contraceptives to be un-Islamic. In addition, the preference for a male offspring is also widespread. As a result, Pakistani parents are inclined to have several children. The immediate task for the governments in Pakistan is to ensure that the rate of decline in fertility rates observed over the past two decades continues. At the same time, the governments in Pakistan should learn from Bangladesh that has made significant progress in stemming the population tide.

Source: The World Bank (2013) – Graph generated by Murtaza Haider.
Source: The World Bank (2013) – Graph generated by Murtaza Haider.

Getting down to two children per family may seem an elusive target, however, Pakistanis have made huge dents in the alarmingly high fertility rates, despite the widespread opposition to family planning. Since 1988, the fertility rate in Pakistan has declined from 6.2 births per woman to 3.5 in 2009. In a country where the religious and other conservatives oppose all forms of family planning, a decline of 44 per cent in fertility rate is nothing short of a miracle.

A recent paper explores the impact of family planning programs in Pakistan. The paper uses data from the 2006-07 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, which interviewed 10, 023 ever-married women between the ages of 15 and 49 years. The survey revealed that only 30 per cent women used contraceptives in Pakistan. Though the paper in its current draft has several shortcomings, yet it still offers several insights into what contributes to high fertility and what the effective strategies are to check high fertility rates in Pakistan.

The survey revealed that the use of contraceptives did not have any significant impact for women who had given birth to six or more children. While 24 per cent women who were not using any contraceptives reported six or more births, 37 per cent of those who used contraceptives reported six or more births. At the same time, 27 per cent of women who were not visited by the family planning staff reported six or more births compared with 22 per cent of women who had a visit with the family planning staff.

Meanwhile, demographic and socio-economic factors reported strong correlation with the fertility outcomes. Women who were at least 19 years old at marriage were much less likely to have four or more births than those who were younger at the time of marriage. Similarly, those who gave birth before they turned 19 were much more likely to have four or more births.

Education also reported strong correlation with fertility outcomes. Consider that 58 per cent of illiterate women reported four or more births compared to 21 per cent of those who were highly educated. Similarly, 60 per cent of the women married to illiterate men reported four or more births compared to 39 per cent of the women married to highly educated men. The survey revealed that literacy among women mattered more for reducing fertility rates than literacy among their husbands.

The underlying variable that defines literacy and the prevalence of contraceptives in Pakistan is the economic status of the households. The survey revealed that 32 per cent of women from poor households reported six or more births compared to 21 per cent of those who were from affluent households.

The above results suggest that family planning efforts in Pakistan are likely to succeed if the focus is on educating young women. Educated young women are likely to get married later and will have fewer children. This is also supported by a comprehensive study by the World Bank in which Andaleeb Alam and others observed that cash transfer programs in Punjab to support female education resulted in a nine percentage point increase in female enrollment. At the same time, the authors found that those girls who participated in the program delayed their marriage and had fewer births by the time they turned 19.

“In fact, women in Punjab with middle and high school education have around 1.8 fewer children than those with lower than middle school education by the end of their reproductive life. Simple extrapolations also indicate that the 1.4 year delay in marriage of beneficiaries associated with the program could lead to 0.4 fewer births by the end of their childbearing years.”

The religious fundamentalists in Pakistan will continue to oppose family planning programs. They cannot, however, oppose the education of young women. The results presented here suggest that high fertility rates could be checked effectively by improving young women’s access to education. At the same time, educated mothers are the best resource for raising an educated nation.

For a highly indebted economy such as Pakistan’s, there exists a narrow range of three options to manage its debt portfolio

THIS is apropos of the news item ‘SBP keeps interest rate unchanged’ (Feb 9), reporting 25.60 per cent increase in domestic debt and simultaneously assuring that ‘the economy has sufficient reserves to meet its debt obligations’.
http://dawn.com/2013/02/16/debt-servicing/

While many have reason to disagree with such a contention, it is important to consider debt beyond the simple equation of ‘reserve-based paying capacity’. For a highly indebted economy such as Pakistan’s, there exists a narrow range of three options to manage its debt portfolio: a) raising the rate of growth above the rate of interest, b) defaulting on a large proportion of the public debt and going into bankruptcy, c) wiping out of debts via currency depreciation and inflation.

Making a choice out of these involves far-reaching impact on the lives of the people and growth prospects of the state. Policymakers in Pakistan have invariably chosen the third option, employing ‘inflation’ as a ‘political phenomenon’ and, thereby, creating forms of debt that, by design, are being shifted to the next generation of the poor and lower middle class.

The ‘cognitive elite’ that, according to Charles Murray, is congregated in a few ‘super zip codes’ has benefited exponentially, while the poor has incurred inter-generational liabilities.

The ability of monopolistic elite to exploit the system in that way is characteristic of a ‘stationary state’. Adam Smith in ‘The Wealth of Nations’ explained that in such a state ‘(the poor) are liable under the pretence of justice to be pillaged and plundered at any time … the oppression of the poor must establish the monopoly of the rich who, engrossing the whole trade to themselves, will be able to make large profits.’

There were a series of attempts in 1692, 1694, 1696, 1704, 1708, and 1715 to avert such exploitation in England. From 1689, the parliament embarked on wide-range reforms, controlling and improving taxation, auditing royal expenditures, and effectively prohibiting debt default.

As a result, writes Nail Ferguson, ‘the debt was successfully reduced with a combination of sustained growth and primary budget surplus. There was no default, no inflation.’

Douglass C. North, Nobel laureate, argues ‘the real significance of the glorious revolution lay in the credibility that it gave the English state as a sovereign borrower’.

Pakistan’s incoming parliament needs a constitutional solution to the debt problem. A solution with wide-range reforms that reduce the discretion and ensure that the elite’s profligacy is not at the expense of the poor.

ALLAH NAWAZ SAMOO
Nagarparkar

 

 

Qadri, Ration = Subsidies on Electricity and CNG

 15 Jan 2013

Dailytimes.com.pk

Backing up and restoring bookmarks – Firefox – MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Dissolve assemblies, go home: Qadri
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – EDITORIAL : Finally, Raisani’s just desserts
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – VIEW : Pakistan is losing its Shias — Amir Husain
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – VIEW : Genocide of Shias, the judiciary and the LeJ — Dr Zaeem Zia
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Eight injured in DHA explosion
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Sit-in ends after two days, protests continue
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Traders want rent for containers seized to ‘block’ long march
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Inefficiency in proper utilisation of subsidies
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Paper products prices increase by 20 percent
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Trade deficit narrows by 14%
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – One-way trade of fruits and vegetables from India, Iran poses threat
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Oil rises above $111 on supply concern, growth hopes
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Nando’s celebrates success of World Wide Licensing
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Long march likely to remain peaceful after ‘deal’
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Businesses remain open
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Pakistan ready for first heart transplant
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – Saudi clerics demand fair trials for prisoners
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – ‘Visa on arrival’ facility at Wagah from today
Daily Times – Leading News Resource of Pakistan – CNG stations to remain closed until 31st

TODAY’s PAKISTAN – More of the SAME – Little love for EDUCATED

See http://www.ideaspakistan.gov.pk/ideas2012.html

UNESCO report places Pakistan in bottom 10 in female education

Published: November 10, 2012

Reveals nearly two-thirds of the country’s poor girls have never spent time in a classroom. PHOTO: REUTERS

As the world expresses solidarity with Malala Yousafzai’s stand on female education, Pakistan finds itself in the bottom 10 of new country rankings for the education of poor females, according to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) report.

Unesco’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFAGMR) revealed Pakistan is in the bottom 10 countries, according to the proportion of poor girls who have never been in school. According to the report, only six African countries fare worse than Pakistan in this respect. It revealed 62% girls in Pakistan, aged between seven and 15, have never spent time in a classroom. This is compared to 30% in India and 9% in Bangladesh.

The report showed Pakistan was also in the bottom 10 countries ranked according to the time young women spend in school in their lifetime. It stated girls, between the ages of 17 and 22, on an average spend one year in school in Pakistan. Girls in India and Bangladesh, in comparison, spend 2.9 and 4.4 years in school on an average.

“Almost two-thirds of Pakistan’s poor girls have never been to school,” said EFAGMR director Pauline Rose in a press release.

“Without a real step change by the government … they will be denied equal opportunities in work and life forever,” she added.

“As we stand together on ‘Malala Day’, it is vital to stand up for what she believes in, and highlight difficulties many poor girls and young women face in getting to school.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 10th, 2012.

 

 

Govt decides to design new ELECTRICITY power plants on Thar coal specifications – dailytimes

WHAT a RUBBISH !! Why NOT this done in 1988 ? or early WHY Pakistanis told HAVE cheap UNRELIABLE river water electricity with NO NEW price increases = LOAD SHEDDING for our kids is here for all WORLD to see.

“….600MW thermal power project at Jamshoro.
“History will not excuse us if we do not take correct decision in time” said Raja while announcing these decisions. “Today we have laid the foundation of an energy policy which is based on our indigenous resources and will lead to savings of huge foreign exchange which are presently being spent…”
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\104\story_4-10-2012_pg1_3
Look at FULL MARKET Price LAW ENFORCED disconnections if poor do not pay bill on time. No BADMASHI no CABZA group to steal electricity ::
One state of Australia with only 5,000,000 population got all its ELECTRICITY needs planned in 1980’s.
“…

In the 1980s work on a third open cut commenced at Loy Yang, as the Yallourn and Morwell coal fields were both committed to fuel existing power stations. The plan was for two new stations (Loy Yang A and B) consisting all a total of eight 500 MW units, all fed by the common coal mine. The project was hit by cost overruns, with an independent review initiated by the government in late 1982, finding excessive rates of pay for construction and operation staff, poor project management, over investment in both the coal mine and power station and general overmanning.[1]

Electricity costs to consumers also begun to rise in the 1980s, due to the need to pay greater dividends to the Victorian Government and to service greater debt levels from the heavy expansion. The SECV was also a part to the Portland Smelter Contract, which provided the Alcoa aluminium smelter with favourable electricity prices at the expense of other consumers.[1]…”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Electricity_Commission_of_Victoria

SHAME on ZIA UL HAQ the GREAT honest GENERAL you with your ARMY could not get ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT to run properly ! No department other that ISI worked correctly ? So Pakistan hit 1990’s with “only” river water electricity.

IF PAKISTANI ARMY collected TAXES and ELECTRICITY and STAMP DUTIES properly today PAKISTAN will be like AUSTRALIA. At least half as rich. Like China = TRY to STEAL electricity in China ? = JAIL. Never jail in Pakistan.

Loy Yang Power Station is a brown coal fired power station located on the outskirts of the city of Traralgon, in south eastern Victoria, Australia. Loy Yang is a base load supply station, and produces about one third of Victoria’s electricity requirements. Loy Yang A has four generating units with a combined capacity of 2,200 megawatts and is owned by Australian Gas Light Company AGL Limited. Loy Yang B has two units with a capacity of 1,050 megawatts is Victoria’s newest and most efficient power station generating around 17% of Victoria’s energy needs. It is owned by UK group International Power.

Loy Yang B employs up to 152 full-time staff and another 40 contractors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loy_Yang_Power_Station,_Victoria

China, Malaysia, Singapore and AUSTRALIA not born RICH = their NON-RELIGIOUS leaders made them GREAT after second world war. Pakistan became FREE after second world war = LOOK where ARMY took Pakistan.

 

 

 

 

Another INDIAN Win – Chinese contractor has started suspending work on Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project

Work on Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project halted

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-125871-Work-on-Neelum-Jhelum-Hydropower-Project-halted

LAHORE: Work on Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) has suffered a big blow due to lack of funding, sources said on Friday. The Chinese contractor has started suspending work on various sections of the project with the passing of the deadline that had been given for the release of Rs7.8 billion in funds.

The contractor has told the Ministry of Water and Power about its inability to continue work on the 969MW project beyond August 10, 2012, sources added. “It is indeed a setback for the project,” said an official. He hastened to add that the federal finance ministry had said that a review committee was being set up for the release of funds. A delay in the release of funds would virtually defeat the purpose of inducting sophisticated tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that were inaugurated by the prime minister himself a few days back.

The TBMs had been acquired with a view to speeding up work on the project. The use of TBMs for the main diversion tunnels has been aimed at enhancing the pace of work, thereby reducing the construction period by a year and a half, resulting in an estimated benefit of Rs60 billion.

More importantly, the early completion of NJHP assumes immense importance in order to neutralise Indian designs of utilising Jhelum water for the under construction Kishanganga Hydropower Project being built upstream in Indian occupied Kashmir.

The completion of NJHP should be done as per schedule to safeguard Pakistan’s water rights over the Neelum River, a major tributary of Jhelum River, sources said.