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Shehbaz demands probe into award of Mohmand dam contract

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Friday lambasted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led federal government for awarding the Mohmand Dam contract to a joint venture comprising a Chinese firm and Descon owned by the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

“I have no personal grudge with Abdul Razak Dawood but Rs300 billion of public money are being doled out blindfolded,” he said while speaking on the floor of the lower house of Parliament.

Sharif said his government saved billions of rupees by getting the cost of various projects reduced. “The Rs309 billion contract was being awarded on a single bid. This is injustice,” he lamented.

He demanded a parliamentary committee to probe into the matter, saying the contract involved public money and thus, they reserved the right to be kept in the know about it. He questioned why the government didn’t invite bids afresh following the single bid and called on the government to conduct the bidding process again as per the relevant rules.

Earlier, on Jan 3, Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda rejected the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) demand to revoke the contract.

“Those demanding cancellation of the contract are hitching conspiracies. Such elements want to halt the country’s progress by making dams controversial,” Vawda said while speaking to the media.

The water minister said dams were a lifeline for the country, adding that he wouldn’t budge on the issue water reservoirs’ construction.

“The dam contract was awarded on merit,” he asserted and offered an impartial probe in this regard.  “We are not the people who would work for commission.”

On Jan 2, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Muzammil Hussain said the Mohmand Dam project was awarded to a joint venture comprising a Chinese company, Gezhouba, and Descon owned by Mr Dawood after fulfilling all legal formalities.

He said all the basic preparations had been made to start the construction work on the project within next two weeks. Hussain added that all legal, financial and technical issues concerning the project have been addressed.

The WAPDA chairman said the government was resolved to provide all necessary resources for completion of the project to ward off the water crisis and ensure food security in the country.

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