Parliamentarians pledge to work for groundwater extraction management

Islamabad : Parliamentarians from National Assembly, Senate and provincial assemblies of Punjab and Sindh have pledged to work together to improve legislative framework governing ground water extraction in Pakistan and improve cooperation and coordination for achieving Sustainable Development Goals target on water and sanitation by 2030.

Over 25 parliamentarians of National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assemblies of Punjab and Sindh attended a national consultative workshop on “Ground Water Extraction Management, WASH Governance and Human Rights to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene” organised by WaterAid Pakistan.

Speaking on behalf of Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani, Senator Seeme Ezdi, Chairperson Standing Committee on Climate Change said that Pakistan is one of the top 5 countries facing water shortage. “In order to tackle this, I would like to urge youth to play their part in creating awareness on ground water management and water conservation”.

Kanwal Shauzab, Parliamentary Secretary, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and National Assembly SDG Taskforce’s focal person for Goal 6 stressed the need to mobilise their role as Parliamentarians and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 through legislative recommendations and enhanced coordination.

“Pakistan is a water stressed country and the hazardous issues of clean drinking water and ground water extraction management cannot be neglected, therefore, such platforms would pave a way for further legislation and water focused policies”, Shauzab said further. She said Pakistan needs to declare an emergency for achieving the SDG-6 goals by 2030.

Siddiq Khan, Country Director, WaterAid Pakistan speaking at the inaugural event said “we are only eight years away from deadline for achieving SDGs including SDG-6 which promises clean drinking water, safe sanitation and hygiene services to everyone everywhere by 2030. To meet this deadline, we are providing technical support to the Government of Pakistan in strengthening the legal foundation for water and sanitation services”.

The workshop also comprised of a briefing to the parliamentarians by a high-level expert on ground water extraction and management. Chairman Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Country Representative of International Water Management Institute Dr. Mohsin Hafeez, Water Resources Specialist of World Bank Basharat Saeed, Director Governance and Policy of WWF Pakistan Imran S. Khalid, Head of Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights Shafique Chaudhry and representatives of Sindh and Punjab governments briefed the parliamentarians on ground water management. The experts said that Pakistan lacked sound legal framework on ground water extraction management which results into irresponsible use of water. They said improvement in legal framework was need of the hour to achieve sustainable development goals.

The workshop will be followed by further engagement with parliamentarians and relevant stakeholders at national and provincial level so that concrete objectives can be achieved.

Mayra Imran

Myra Imran works as a staff reporter for The News in Islamabad and is an award-winning journalist. She is Joint Secretary for National Press Club, Islamabad.
Myra reports on human rights issues, including water and sanitation. Her expertise is on women issues. She was declared ‘Media Woman of the Year’ by the Excellence Award Foundation and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2009. The following year, she was presented the ‘Benazir Women in Leadership Award’ by the Ministry of Human Rights. In 2010 she directed a documentary on the post-earthquake situation in Balakot, one of the worst affected areas in the October 2005 earthquake.

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