LAHORE - PML President Ch Shujaat Hussain has asked the PML-N to explain to the nation the reasons for an extraordinary delay in construction of Bhasha Dam.

The PML-N, said Ch Shujaat in a statement on Sunday, should first explain the delay in construction of the mega dam and then include it in its manifesto. He said General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf and Ch Pervaiz Elahi in 2006 had inaugurated the dam but later the PPP and PML-N government put it on hold for years for unknown reasons.

He said that water became an issue of security and existence for Pakistan and in this situation the order of the chief justice for immediate construction of Bhasha Dam was historical. He said the government, which will come into power after July 25 polls, must implement the apex court order in true spirit.

He regretted that the judiciary had to do what the political government was supposed to do. He said Ch Pervaiz Elahi during his five-year tenure in Punjab paid full attention to construction of dams and 45 small dams were constructed at the cost of Rs11 billion. These dams made more than 15,000 acres of barren land in Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock and Rawalpindi cultivable. The repair and expansion of Taunsa Barrage and Thal Canal was done at a cost of Rs75 billion, he said. Construction of 850 kilometres of concrete watercourses ensured supply of water to tail-end farmers for the first time in southern Punjab, he said.