By Minahil Makhdoom
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser Tuesday said provision of drinking water, upgraded health facilities and ensuring clean environment were the priorities of the government of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI). Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the consultative workshop on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene here, he said the targets set by Prime Minister Imran Khan for completion of development projects in the sectors of education, health and water will be achieved. He said the government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf completed different drinking water and irrigation projects in provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. He said work had started on construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams. There was shortage of water for irrigation and drinking purposes and more projects for water conservation should be undertaken, he added. He stressed on construction of small dams to raise the ground water level.
Asad said the legislators should pursue the water projects on priority basis instead of focusing on other schemes. The Speaker said he made it his priority to focus on education, health, irrigation and drinking water projects in his constituency, adding many health and education projects were completed and classes were started in the new schools and colleges.
He said water scarcity was an issue in all the provinces, adding according to the latest figures, billions of people in the world were deprived of clean drinking water in the rural areas. Despite increase in access to facilities of water, health and sanitation, two out of five persons did not have facility to wash hands with soap and water, he explained.
He said in Pakistan, 48 percent population did not have access to adequate health and sanitation facilities. A large section of population was forced to drink polluted water which was adversely affecting their health. According to a report, Pakistan will be facing severe shortage by 2025, he told. The Speaker said clean drinking water was vital for maintaining human health.
Pakistanâ€™s progress and prosperity was linked to availability of water for agriculture and human consumption, he noted. Asad urged the government, civil society and media to increase their efforts to create awareness about hygiene and sanitation.
He said the governments and international organizations around the world have to come together to increase access of people to clean potable water and sanitation facilities. The access of drinking water should be declared a fundamental right in the constitution, he added. The Speaker observed that Pakistan was facing the issue of climate change including floods, droughts and earthquakes and a coordinated strategy was needed to cope with this serious situation.