The work on Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Project of 969 MW, which is a symbol of Pakistan-China strategic partnership, has almost come to halt due to non-payment of Rs.7.8 billions to Chinese companies by government of Pakistan. An International Court of Arbitration at The Hague has already ruled in favour of India on the Kishanganga hydroelectric project and upheld India’s right to divert water from the hydroelectric project to Kashmir. However, water storage priority right will be decided by early completion of project by Pakistan or India as per Indus Water Treaty. The Neelum-Jhelum project’s early completion is of immense importance to Pakistan to avoid a permanent loss of Rs. 30-35 billion per annum forever, if we failed to construct before India. The main reasons for our failure to complete this mega project are significant delays caused by funding issues, poor planning and lack of national will to complete it before India's Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project.

Unfortunately, our ex-leader’s self-interests were more important than construction of this national project. What a shame, our ex-Prime Minister managed to allocate 47 billion rupees in his constituency, but failed to arrange Rs.10-20 billion for this project. As a result work has almost come to halt due to non-payment. Consequently, Chinese Companies also failed to pay Pakistani sub-contractors and suppliers. The cessation of work has created financial dilemma for Pakistani suppliers who have obtained funds from banks. Banks have obtained decrees from Banking Courts to auction mortgaged properties due to non-payments.

This national project is suffering a big blow due to non-issuance of funds. Therefore, I appeal to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Minister of Water and Power, and Minister of Finance to provide funds on a war-footing for smooth construction operations to save Pakistan, Chinese Companies and Pakistani suppliers, sub-contractors. I also request Governor State Bank of Pakistan to direct someone to stop auction of properties of Pakistani suppliers and sub-contractors who became defaulters due to non-payment by Government of Pakistan.

M M HUSSAIN,

Lahore, June 9.