LONDON   -   Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has proposed re-imposition of tax on the top-up of prepaid mobile phones to collect funds for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

“It will not be appropriate to impose taxes to collect funds for the construction of dams, however, we had earlier suspended the withholding tax on the top-up of prepaid cards by cellphone service providers and learnt that through this Rs3 billion were saved per month,” he said.

“If the nation allows, we will re-impose the tax on the prepaid cards and collect money for the dam fund,” the top judge said in his address at a fundraiser hosted by UK-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UKPCCI) in London.

Justice Nisar urged the nation to put forth their viewpoints on his proposal. “The nation should apprise us of their thoughts on this proposal,” he said.

He said that failure to construct uncontroversial dams in the country was a criminal negligence. “A dam needs to be constructed on every inch of Indus River.”

The chief justice said water is a hope of life for our coming generations and we have to take steps to save water from being wasted. He expressed hope that “one day all four provinces will be in agreement over the construction of Kalabagh Dam”.

He said that climate change has reduced rains across the world and as a result underground water level is falling very sharply. The drastic drop in underground water level in Pakistan has affected daily life in all big and small cities. The water level in Lahore has fallen to 400 feet while in Quetta it has fallen to more than 500 feet, he added.

“Karachi’s water crisis made me realise how crucial this issue is... Tanker mafia and some others have been controlling the water supply in Karachi,” Justice Nisar asserted.

Stating that he wanted to secure the future of the next generations, the CJP said, “The construction of dams is no longer only Pakistan’s campaign but of humanity’s.”

He said dam fund campaign has remained highly successful. All including children and elderly persons are enthusiastic on the issue of construction of dams. This is not an ordinary situation but it has become a campaign now. He said that Sikh community from foreign countries, transgender community and children and elderly persons have also donated in the dam fund.

Justice Nisar thanked the government and those who have contributed to the dam fund.

The chief justice vowed to not let anyone misappropriate the funds being collected for dams and reassured that he will safeguard every penny donated for the purpose.

He said he “will leave the nation’s money in safe hands” before he retires. “I will make a company to ensure this,” he added. “These funds are a loan from the nation and I will hand them over to a trustworthy man before leaving,” he went on to say.

The chief justice is currently visiting the United Kingdom to raise funds for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

The British-Pakistani participants of the Fund Raising dinner of UKPCCI contributed over 1.2 million pounds for the construction of the dams.

Lauding contributions of overseas Pakistanis, the chief justice said that they had always stood up and helped their country in the hour of need including during the earthquake adding they were also playing their vital role in promoting health and education sectors of their motherland.

He assured the Pakistani diaspora that steps would be taken to resolve their genuine issues. In this regard, he said that a human rights cell had also been established in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

He added that provision of justice to the people was prerequisite for the socio-economic development of the country and efforts were being made to achieve this objective.

He also informed the Pakistani community that he was visiting hospitals and medical universities in Pakistan, due to which the performance of these institutions has improved.

The other speakers on the occasion highly appreciated Chief Justice of Pakistan for his initiative to overcome looming water crisis in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, UKPCCI General Secretary Waheed ur Rehman highlighted the aims and objectives of his organization. He said that UKPCCI was established in 1979 to promote trade and investment between Pakistan and United Kingdom.

He assured the CJP that his organization would actively take part in the fund raising campaign being run by him and Prime Minister Imran Khan “We are emotionally attached with this fund for a cause of our country”, he remarked.

Imran Qasim of Al-Khair Foundation highlighted the objectives of his organisation. He said the foundation is one of the UK’s fastest growing Muslim charities and it continues to expand its efforts at home and overseas.

 

CJP proposes restoring tax on phone top-up for funding dams