Election 2018: Political parties claim to have a panacea for all ills

  • Tariq Fazal shares PML-N’s commitment to people, announces Rs40bn plan to address water woes for next 50 years
  • Asad Umer says PTI has UC-level data about need of schools, hospitals, houses, parks and libraries

ISLAMABAD: From water woes, rampant urbanisation, lack of quality public sector hospitals and education institutions, near absence of public transport to ailing infrastructure and crumbling local authorities, the capital has more than its fair share of problems and issues.

In upcoming elections, the two foremost parties – the Pakistan Muslim League-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf – have been canvassing and telling voters that they have a panacea for all ills that denizens face.

Pakistan Today asked both former federal minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary and former lawmaker Asad Umer, both are the candidates from NA-52 and NA-54 respectively, about their respective party’s plan to address the hydra-headed issues of the capital.

Asad Umer, the PTI candidate from the most urban and smallest of the three constituencies of Islamabad with 218,697 registered voters from 630,152 population, told Pakistan Today that one of the biggest and most frightening issues was of water.

“Everybody whether rich or poor, living in urban area or the rural suffers from the paucity of water. The basic issue is that the city has expanded in all directions. At this time, there is shortage of 100 million gallons per day. Three years back, the Council of Common Interest gave approval of a project through which water was to be brought from Tarbela Dam to Islamabad,” he said.

He said that the local infrastructure of water was dysfunctional, water rankers were out of order, tubewells were out of order while motors are burned. In old sectors, the dilapidated water supply lines were the main culprits, he said. He said that his party has undertaken a thorough survey at the Union Council levels regarding the need of the schools, hospitals, residential units, parks and libraries.

“We’ve also submitted these detailed surveys to the standing committee of the National Assembly, but to no avail. Once in power, we’ll take cue from these surveys and will try our level best to alleviate the plight of our voters as we have the data, all we need to do is to streamline the service provisions,” he said.

Despite located in the federal capital, the issues of the rural areas (of Islamabad) resemble those of far-flung areas of Pakistan, said Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, a PML-N candidate from NA-52. “We’ve spent billions of rupees on the development of the rural areas and given thousands of Sui gas connections, made roads, provided electricity to the poorest segments of society,” he said.

He said that his government had spent four billion on education and provided 200 new buses to schools under the Federal Directorate of Education. About the future plan of his party, he said that his party’s past performance was proof of their commitment to the people whether they were living in the rural areas or the urban localities.

“We aim to provide a safe and secure city to all. Furthermore, we have a project worth 40 billion rupees where water woes of the capital will be resolved for the next 50 years as water from the Gazi Brotha barrage will be brought to the capital,” he pointed out.