Islamabad: Pakistan government is facing severe criticism over collection of funds from its citizens to build Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams. The cost of the two dams is estimated to be Pakistani Rs 1.45 trillion.
The idea of crowd-source funding the mega dams has not gone down well with the people. Several fake Twitter accounts have surfaced in the name of rich and famous people claiming to have donated huge amounts for the dam. Observers say the parody accounts could either be a ploy to inspire and entice others into donating, or these could be the people’s way of expressing sarcasm on money collection.
Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, took to Twitter to express his concerns about the donation and also referred to it as a scam. “Dear @twitter, you really have to help us shut this scam down. Poor Pakistanis are ‘donating’ money for a dam that might never get built because fake twitter accounts of famous people are telling them they are donating for it too!” Haqqani tweeted.
Haqqani also retweeted a now deleted message from a parody account of the billionaire Bill Gates, who claimed to have donated huge money for the construction of the dam. Fake Twitter accounts in the name of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming to have donated money, too surfaced all over the internet.
Another false handle on the micro blogging site, claiming to belong to the Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, tweeted: “I will donate 200000$ for dam fund Pakistan. Little drops of water make the mighty ocean.”
Pakistani citizens also criticised the government for crowd-sourcing initiative and called the fund collection initiative as a brewing scam.
Several people reminded the government of the idea of “Income-Tax” and the fact that charity and donations are the wrong way to improve a country’s infrastructure. People are also asking the government to make public information about the funds that have been collected since the donation account was opened.
On Tuesday, the newly-elected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan put out a tweet, saying, “Met Chairman Wapda today & emphasised urgency of building the Diamer Bhasha & Mohmand Dams. I may supervise Dams project myself, given the urgency. 45 maf is total water outflow of Pak, of which 80% is in 3 mths & only 20% in rest of 9 mths.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asserted that those comparing the seeking of donations for the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dam to ‘begging’ should be ashamed of themselves.
The idea to crowd source a mega dam was the brain child of Justice Nisar who, while addressing the growing water crisis in the country, called on the citizens to donate for the construction of dam.
Geo TV quoted Justice Nisar as saying, “We started the fund in the name of patriotism and working on a self-help basis is not begging.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Justice Nisar and handed him a cheque of Rs1 billion for the dam fund. The Spokesperson of Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor, confirmed the same on his Twitter account and quoted CoAS as saying: “Pak Army shall continue to contribute towards nation building as a national institution.”