June 2020


Jamil Nagri Jun 01 2020

GILGIT: The Shishper glacier started melting once again the other day, causing flooding in downstream areas in Hasanabad village of Hunza, displacing many people and damaging an under-construction power house.

The increased water level in Hasanabad nullah, damaged water channels and swept away a portion of Karakoram Highway.

The glacier, a few kilometres away from Hasanabad village, had also started melting in 2018.

The surge in glacier blocked water flow from a stream originating from nearby Muchuhur Glacier, which normally falls into Hunza River at Hasanabad, thus forming an artificial lake.

The Hunza deputy commissioner said water from the lake had started discharging, increasing water flow in Hasanabad nullah.

He said inmates of 14 houses in the downstream of Hasanabad nullah had been evacuated and shifted in tents.

He said 2,500 to 3,000 cusecs of water was discharged which caused flooding in Hasanabad nullah, as a result, a portion of KKH was eroded and traffic was suspended for several hours.

“Flood damaged two megawatt hydropower house, barren and cultivated lands, trees along the nullah, drinking and irrigation water supply lines and channels in different villages of central Hunza,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, Commander FCNA Maj-Gen Ehsan Mehmood Khan, chief secretary Khuram Shahzad Agha and officials of GB Disaster Management Authority and Frontier Works Organisation visited the area and reviewed the situation.

The district administration briefed the officials about possible threats in case of outburst of the lake.

Mr Rehman, talking to mediapersons in Hunza, said the federal government had been requested to provide a permanent solution to the disruption caused by Shishper glacier melting.

He said emergency steps were being taken to mitigate the disaster.

He said the glacier outburst posed threat to CPEC route and Hasanabad Bridge on KKH which connects Pakistan and China.

The Pakistan Army, GBDMA, FWO, works department and the district administration are working in the area to protect lives and properties of local residents living in red zone area, Mr Rehman said.

He said an alternative bridge was being constructed in case of damage to the existing one.

He said the organisations concerned were working on realignment of the damaged portion of KKH.

Hafeezur Rehman expressed fear that in case of rising temperatures in coming days Shishper glacier melting could increase.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2020



Terence J Sigamony Jun 02 2020

ISLAMABAD: Water and Power Development Authority Chairman Lt-Gen Muzzammil Hussain (retired) Monday informed the Supreme Court that Diamer-Bhasha Dam would be completed in July 2028, while Mohmand Dam’s first power unit would start functioning in December 2024.

A five-judge special bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the implementation of its directives regarding construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

At the onset of the proceeding, the Chief Justice took notice that the courtroom was full and the litigants were sitting close to each other.

He became annoyed, and asked why the SOP about social distancing was being neglected. The chief justice ordered the people not relevant to leave the courtroom.

He said that observing the SOPs was for the benefit of the people in order to remain safe from the coronavirus.

Muzzammil, who is also head of Implementation Committee of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams (ICBMD), told the court that the federal government had provided Rs15 billion funds for Mohmand Dam, while another amount of Rs15 billion would be provided soon.

He submitted that the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) had given approval for the construction of the dams, adding the contract of Mohmand Dam had already been awarded and the mobilization work commenced.

All the three units will be fully operation in July 2025, he said.

A representative of the State Bank of Pakistan, through video-link from Karachi, informed that as the monetary policy rate has reduced in the country therefore, the rate of treasury bills has also gone down.

He told that the investment of Dam Fund is secured in T-bills, otherwise the amounts could be invested in the Stock Exchange, but the risk factor is very high there.

He said on the direction of the top court they wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ministry sent a reminder to the Pakistani embassies abroad to facilitate Pakistanis who like to donate for the Dam Fund.

The top court on June 13, 2019, had decided to invest Supreme Court and Prime Minister Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Funds in the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

Former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on July 10, 2018 had set up Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams fund to raise funds for the construction of the dams.

When Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to join the effort with the chief justice for the construction of dams then the fund’s name was changed to Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund.

The amount on June 13 in the fund was Rs10.66973billion.

The case was adjourned for six months.



The Newspaper’s Correspondent Jun 08 2020

THATTA: Speakers at a webinar commended services of late veteran politician Rasool Bux Palijo and said nobody in entire South Asia fought case for water like he did and his lifelong struggle for Sindh’s rights was a noticeable chapter of history.

Ayaz Latif Palijo, chairman of Qaumi Awami Tehreek (QAT) which organised the event on the second death anniversary of Palijo at SRO auditorium in Makli on Sunday, told participants that Palijo developed a combined leftist theory and practiced it to promote people’s interests.

He said that at a time when leftist leaders in Pakistan toed lines of Moscow and Beijing, he adopted a unique way by connecting Marxism with national question and raising voice for protecting Sindh’s rights on its natural resources and rights of women and minorities.

He contended that because of this unique approach, so-called leftists who rejected national question started targeting him. Those doing popular politics deemed him as a threat to their politics and they, from Gen Zia to Pakistan Peoples Party, tried hard to prevent Palijo from reaching parliament, he said.

He said that as a father and husband he gave equal status to his children and wives and provided them independence in pursuing their goals for study and profession.

PPP Senator Sassui Palijo said that Palijo Sahib had great unparalleled political vision that was why he always used to draw comparisons between prevalent socio-political system in Pakistan and the rest of the world, particularly in relevance to Sindh.

She said that Palijo Sahib was an enlightened, progressive and pro-people person who was an epitome of tolerance and always raised voice for the downtrodden class of the entire world.

Palijo Sahib was not only a politician, he was a great warrior who led throughout his socio-political tenure on the fronts of writing books, columns, short stories and poetry. He had deep knowledge of music and poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Rumi, Jami, Allama Iqabl, Shaikh Saadi and others. He wan an institution embodied who always preached youngsters to read books, she said.

She said that despite his ailment Palijo remained active in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, joined rallies periodically taken out for the rights of Sindh, including against controversial Kalabagh Dam and other issues of the province.

Thatta district council chairman Ghulam Qadir Palijo said that charismatic personality of Palijo attracted poverty and misery-ridden population of Sindh including scheduled caste Kolhis, Bheels, and others towards him who followed him wholeheartedly and became part of his lifelong struggle for legitimate rights of Sindh and Sindhis.

He said that Palijo freed the poor from the clutches of Pirs, Mirs and capitalists and with their help launched massive campaigns against handover of Sindh lands to outsiders, Kalabagh Dam and voters lists.

N.A Baloch Institute of Heritage Research Jamshoro director Dr Mohammad Ali Manjhi said that Palijo had a multi-dimensional personality and he involved his own family members and women and children of his party workers in street protests and made them part of fight for the rights of Sindh. Palijo produced hundreds of people, particularly party activists who played exceptional role in various fields, he said.

He educated his workers with his thought-provoking ideas through regular classes which helped evolve an educated political culture in Sindh. A clear example of this was Sindhiani Tehreek, a sister organisation of Awami Tehreek, which continued to play a vital role in politics shoulder to shoulder with Awami Tehreek till this day, he said.

Awami Tehreek central committee member Dada Qadir Ranto said that Palijo’s vast knowledge was not limited to politics but he had great command over other sphere of life as well including literature, art, music etc.

Earlier in the morning, dozens of party workers laid wreaths on Palijo’s grave in Mungher Khan Palijo village.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2020



Mushtaq Ghumman Jun 15 2020

ISLAMABAD: Indus River System Authority (Irsa) has reportedly expressed reservations on Ministry of Water Resources reported intent to handover telemetry system installation project to Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), well informed sources in the Secretary Ministry of Water Resources told Business Recorder.

Ministry of Water Resources, in a letter on April 24, 2020 stated that automation of water discharge monitoring system be installed by Wapda. Accordingly, a copy of draft PC-1, addressed to Chairman, Wapda for necessary action, was also shared with Irsa.

“Irsa has some reservations on this decision in the backdrop of previous experience of installation of telemetry system by Wapda back in 2004-05,” the sources added.

Regarding, installation and commissioning of telemetry system back in 2004, Irsa has clarified that the system had some technical problems as Wapda executed the works without the participation of stakeholders. The progress of the telemetry system was not giving the desired results and therefore, the system was outsourced to Wapda in the light of Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission of August 17, 2005.

The Cabinet recently constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Commission to hold an inquiry into telemetry system sabotage. At least three members of Irsa are facing threat of removal from service on charges that they sabotaged the project which was to be funded by the World Bank through concessional loan of $ 4.5 million. Irsa members, however, were of the view that the World Bank consultant did not execute a similar project in Punjab.

Wapda, in its letter of April 24, 2020 apprised Irsa that Hydro Resource Management Division (Wapda) is operating an automatic telemetry system network along Indus catchments installed during 1996 and 2006 for real time monitoring of floods flows. Presently the expansion/ strengthening of the existing telemetric network is being done by automation of the manual gauging stations installed in Indus catchments by Wapda through World Bank, AFD, ADB, JICA, TIKA etc. and with availability of experience of similar nature, Wapda can take this responsibility.

According to Wapda, Irsa telemetry system, designed in 2002 and commissioned in 2002, was satisfactorily completed by Wapda. The system was handed over to Irsa, however, owing to failure to carry out O&M of the project, it was assigned to Wapda in 2005. The system could not be kept operational due to lack of ownership by the stakeholders besides inadequate funding for O&M. Therefore, the ownership by the stakeholders and availability of adequate funds by the sponsoring agency i.e. Irsa is essential before execution of the project.

Wapda, has, acknowledged that the description of the technical parameters for the equipment/ system to be installed under the subject-PC-1 is not clear. Wapda says that a completely new system shall need to be designed, procured and commissioned from scratch where the option for utilization of the non-obsolete parts of the existing system are also considered and the system may be a mix of salvageable hardware from existing system along with new equipment or purely new equipment as determined during the design exercise.

Advance equipment for calculating the river flows in barrages/ canals are also available. The option for availability of real time flows by installing the velocity and level ( gauges) measuring sensors coupled with extensometer ( for gate opening) in barrages / canals may be also be considered as an essential characteristics of monitoring system for Irsa.

Wapda is of the view that, after installation of telemetry system work in 2004, Wapda handed over the project to Irsa, however, owing to failure of carrying of M&M of the project, it was assigned back to Wapda in 2005. The could not be kept operational by Wapda due to lack of ownership by the stakeholders (provinces/ Irsa) besides inadequate funding for O&M.

As per the scope of work under ToRs, the consultancy services period would be 18 months whereas the implementation duration of consultancy services as per ToR is 24 months. The implementation period for the project activities for consultants is not clear (design, bidding and award, procurement installation and commissioning) and one year operation may require more than two years.

The cost estimation for the telemetry equipment is not worked out in detail. It is not clear that the cost of the equipment covers only the replacement of the data transmission modem of the previously installed system by Wapda. The project cost needs to be reframed.