Pollution a major hurdle in the way of achieving sustained development: Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri

While commenting on ongoing smog crisis in the country that has affected the life of all and sundry, PAT Chairman Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has said that recurring phenomenon of smog is the result of the anti-environment mega projects being executed by the rulers. He added that if this “democratic thinking” continue to usurp the national resources, the very living conditions would face threats in Pakistan in addition to the threats to the lives of common Pakistanis. The poison of ineptness and corruption polluted our historical identity and destroyed the beauty of natural landscapes, and now this mindset has poisoned the atmosphere of the agricultural country of Pakistan and even the breathing is becoming more and more difficult. He pointed out that the largest contributors in the formation and intensification of smog were the coal-based power plants that were installed unilaterally and unnecessarily, noting that if the rulers were sincere in eliminating the crisis of power outages, they would invest in clean sources of energy like hydropower.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri was addressing, via telephone, the meeting of professional wing of Pakistan Awami Tehreek. He noted that PAT was the only political party in Pakistan that had set up professional wing with an aim to provide platform to the experts to play their role in national development and human welfare. He added that intellectuals and experts with concern for deteriorating environmental conditions had been lying emphasis on the construction of water reservoirs, installation of hydro projects and expanding the forest cover since the last decade but the economic terrorists and mentally paralyzed corrupt leaders wasted national resources in the construction of coal, gas and LNG based power plants.

Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri stated that the energy mafia got the loans approved for the installation of thermal power plants overnight and secured massive commission for this, it was the same mafia that did not allow the construction of any single mega hydro project for the last 4 decades. He further added that Pakistan had the capacity to generate more than 1 lack MW of clean energy but the incompetent, corrupt and idle bureaucracy was the biggest bottleneck in realizing that huge potential.

The PAT Chairman noted that all the major hydropower projects and sources of clean energy were constructed during the reign of dictators but the so-called civilian leaders considered the criticism of dictatorship as the sole service to democracy. Elaborating on the importance of hydropower projects, he added that the enhancement in the national water storage capacity and construction of mega hydro projects were the matter of life and death in ensuring the self-sufficiency in food and energy and sustaining and expanding the agricultural and industrial advancement, none of the so-called democratic civilian governments had paid attention to this.

PAT Chairman said that the issue of the protection and conservation of environment was the unavoidable part of the political and social debate in the west. The people of western countries ask their leaders questions about their policies and vision regarding the population control and climate change. Unfortunately Pakistani corrupt elite had not paid attention to such critical questions as forests, provision of safe drinking water and replenishment of other natural resources.

Dr Qadri said that our corrupt elite even did not consider the environmental pollution as the problem and this was the reason why mega projects were approved without environmental impact assessments. He advised the people to think beyond the politics of streets, sewerage and pavement of roads and debate with political parties about their manifestos and strategies regarding the control of environmental protection. Otherwise Pakistan would continue to struggle with smog and corruption and the human life would continue to linger in hospital and homes.

He advised PAT professional wing to kick-start the work on the formulation of comprehensive policy for the protection and conservation of environment and consult all stakeholders in this regard.