A crowdfunding initiative launched by cash-strapped Pakistan to collect $14 billion needed for the construction of two mega dams has mopped up Pakistani Rupees 10 billion since it was launched in September last year. Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked the people for their "generosity" for contributing the money.
Imran Khan tweeted his gratitude, saying, "I would like to pay tribute to the generosity of the people of Pakistan for raising Rs 10 billion for the Dams' Fund."
I would like to pay tribute to the generosity of the people of Pakistan for raising Rs 10 billion for the Dams' Fund. pic.twitter.com/9PFbiLYmKk— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 12, 2019
The money is for the 4,500MW Diamer-Bhasha dam in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Gilgit-Baltistan and the 800 MW Mohmand Dam to be built on the Swat River in the Manda area, Geo reported.
Former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, had launched the - Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dam fund - for the construction of the dams in July last year. After he became Prime Minister, Imran Khan took over the dam fund and appealed to overseas Pakistanis to contribute.
In September last year, the Supreme Court of Pakistan approved a change in the name of the fund to Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s fund for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams.
The urgency to build the dams came after the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), predicted that Pakistan will dry up by 2025.
In 2006, then President Pervez Musharraf's government had announced the building of five storage dams across Pakistan to tackle water scarcity and produce hydro-electricity.
Pakistan sought help from the World Bank. However, it faced rejection as the Diamer Bhasha dam is to be built in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (disputed land). Pakistan then turned to China for help under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Chinese agreed to build the dam but demanded ownership of the dams once constructed; an offer that Pakistani refused.
Unable to get financial help from an economic institution, Pakistan decided to crowdfund these projects.