ISLAMABAD - Marked by low attendance and lacklustre interest, the National Assembly session in Wednesday’s proceeding, sensing the gravity of water scarcity in the country, acknowledged the importance of constructing dams to avoid drought-like situation in future.

The house, with thin presence of lawmakers from both the sides of the aisle, only took up one agenda item after the question-hour session which focused on shortage of water in future due to ill-planning. The much-hyped raid on Nine-Zero of MQM was not touched as the government side was expected to take the house into confidence on it. MQM did not attend Wednesday’s proceedings, ostensibly, to avoid criticism from other political parties. Responding to the concern voiced in call-attention notice about the fear of drought, State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said the incumbent government was making efforts to enhance water-storage capacity to meet agricultural needs of the country.

“The prime minister has released billions of rupees for completing the acquisition of land for constructing Diamer-Bhasha dam,” said the state minister, adding the country needed at least 147 million acres feet water storage. “Bhasha Dam would help enhance the storage capacity of water.

 Funds have already been released for constructing Munda Dam,” he pointed out.

About Kalabagh Dam, the minister said the issue had become controversial as consensus was required to build it. “This is the only country which cannot easily develop consensus to build dams,” he remarked.

To a question about the efforts to meet the challenge of waster scarcity, the state minister said the government had been arranging conferences on water conservation to enhance awareness.

PPP senior lawmaker Naveed Qamar also asked the government to take this matter seriously to avoid a drought-like situation.  Earlier, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah asked the chair to defer ‘The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2014’ so that consensus could be built on this matter.

PPP’s Ayaz Soomro, on a point of order, said difference between Lahore and Larkana in terms of providing basic facilities should be ended.

 “It seems Larkana is not on the map of Pakistan. Loadshedding duration is normally 16 hours there, which is an injustice,” he said, asking the government to provide facilities to his constituency (Larkana). He further said flight operation should be initiated from Larkana to Mohenjo Daro.