ADB, Japan pump in funds to help Balochistan overcome water scarcity issues

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The Asian Development Bank’s Country Director Ms. Xiaohong Yang and Balochistan’s additional chief secretary Mr. Sajjad Bhutta are signing agreement at CM Secretariat, Quetta here on Saturday. Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet members are also present. (Photo by CM House Media)
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Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, and the Asian Development Bank’s Country Director Ms Xiaohong Yang are discussing matter of mutual interest at CM Secretariat, Quetta here on Saturday. (Photo by CM House Media)
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Cracks emerge in the earth in Chagai due to drought in Balochistan. (AN photo by Waqar Reki)
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The date trees have dried up in Chagai district of Balochistan. (AN photo by Waqar Reki)
Updated 05 January 2019

ADB, Japan pump in funds to help Balochistan overcome water scarcity issues

  • More than 100,000 families affected by lack of resources, provincial home minister says
  • Loan for funding of various projects aimed at overcoming drought-related problems

KARACHI: The government of Balochistan signed an agreement with a major Asian lender on Saturday for a $100 million loan to overcome issues arising from water scarcity in five major districts of the drought-hit province.

In addition to the deal with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the government has also obtained financial assistance from Japan.

"The government has secured $5million from the government of Japan for these projects, for which the provincial government has also allocated Rs4billion,” Provincial Information Minister Zahoor Ahmed Buledi told Arab News.

ADB's Country Director, Xiaohong Yang, and Balochistan’s additional chief secretary, Sajjad Bhutta signed the agreement. Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and his cabinet members were also present during the meeting which was held at the CM House in Quetta.

Buledi said the projects include utilizing water from two flood rivers passing through the Zhob and Khuzdar divisions.  

Construction of the Siri Toi Dam in the Zhob division, improvement of the irrigation system in Khuzdar division, creating conditions to make 50,000 acres of land cultivable, ensuring plantation on nearly 11,000 acres, installation of telemeters along rivers Zhob and Moola, and increasing the capacity-building of personnel in the irrigation, agricultural, forest and environment departments are just some of the objectives of the project.

According to Buledi, the construction of two fruit processing zones in Khuzdar and Zhob divisions and installation of two olive oil processing plants in these divisions are also part of the scheme.

"The projects will leave a great positive impact on the lives of people of our province who are facing tough conditions due to drought,” Buledi said, adding that CM Balochistan -- in the meeting with the World Bank officials -- praised its role in the province.

Balochistan – the jugular vein of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in terms of energy and infrastructure projects – has been the worst affected by the drought.

Speaking to Arab News last month, farmers from Kila Saifullah and Chaghi districts said that their crops and livestock were vanishing due to water scarcity issues in the province.

Last month, Home Minister Mir Saleem Khosa, who also heads the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, told Arab News that Rs500 million would be spent on relief, rehabilitation initially, with free medical camps and veterinary dispensaries to be established soon.

The drought has affected 109,330 families and 1,756,578 animals in 20 districts of the province, with the government ensuring the provision of free meals to people in affected areas, Khosa said.

“We will soon introduce a short-term and long-term solution to the issue,” he added. “Emergency cells will be set up at the district and provincial levels to gather data and provide immediate relief to the affected people."

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s mother to be laid to rest in Lahore today

Updated 28 November 2020

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s mother to be laid to rest in Lahore today

  • Begum Shamim Akhtar passed away in London last Sunday
  • Her elder son attended her funeral prayers in a mosque in Britain before her body was flown back to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: A leading Pakistani political family has made funeral arrangements in Lahore for an elderly member who passed away in London last Sunday and whose body was brought back to Pakistan earlier today.
Begum Shamim Akhtar, whose sons Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif have spent decades in national politics, will be laid to rest after her family offers her funeral prayers on Saturday.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) founding leader and the country’s former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, prayed for the departed soul in a small congregation at a mosque in London where he currently resides after securing a medical bail and flying out of Pakistan in November 2019.
The Sharif family has been facing a slew of corruption allegations since the Panama Papers were leaked in April 2016.
The country’s top court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in July 2017, and he was convicted by an accountability court the next year.
His younger brother, Shehbaz, and nephew, Hamza, have also been facing corruption references and were released from prison on a five-day parole to perform Begum Akhtar’s last rites.
The elder Sharif also missed his father’s funeral in 2004 since he was denied permission to return to his country from exile in Saudi Arabia by the administration of General (r) Pervez Musharraf.