ISLAMABAD:(APS)Feb 26, 2018 – Major parliamentary political parties have affirmed their commitment towards featuring provision of clean drinking water, safe sanitation and hygiene awareness in their manifestoes to improve the lives and health of the citizenry.
The political parties were of the view that giving top priority to drinking water and sanitation in their respective manifestoes would not only improve the quality of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services but also support improvements in the health and education sectors of the country’s development agenda. PPPP, PMLN, PTI, JUI, and MQM made the commitment in Islamabad at a dialogue on drinking Water and Sanitation for General Election 2018.
Among the political parties Senator Taj Haider of Pakistan People Party said that availability of clean drinking and public access for it serious issues in Pakistan. His government in Sindh has focused its lenses to resolve sanitation issues and to ensure clean drinking water for common man. He said in this regard PPP government in Sindh has launched many project in urban, rural and thar areas.
Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf member national assembly Arif Alvi said mere to give priority to drinking water and sanitation in respective political parties’ manifestoes is not solution. All political parties must go one step ahead to implement and to improve the quality of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services it with full political will.
MQM MNA Kishwar Zehra said that 90% population of Karachi does not have access to clean drinking water. Increase in population is serious problem of Karachi. There are many areas in Karachi where people receive water supply for two days of a week.
Shahida Akhtar of JUI said in this connection media can play a vital role in creating awareness among masses. We should focus on the methods for conservation of water.
Political Activist Jan Achakzai said bureaucracy is main hurdle in implementing new technologies for water treatment.
Country head of Water Aid Siddique Khan urged political parties to make clean water their slogan for upcoming election.
The President of National Press club Tariq Ch insist on political parties to give clean drinking water, safe sanitation priority in their respective manifestos.
Speaking at the occasion all parties stressed the need for universal access to clean drinking water and sanitation recognising it as afundamental right to life. The speakers agreed that Pakistan was one of the most densely populated countries in South Asia and lacked behind in the provision and access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene both in rural and urban areas.
The Panel alsois seized of the fact that the SDGs relating to health, gender equality, education and poverty, are not achievable without improvements in WASH. Lack of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene overshadow human dignity, and limit labour force productivity. Women are particulalry affected due to the grafting of water collection, the indignity and insecurity of open defecation. Education achivemennt and and employment suffere when schools and workplaces do not have clean water and safe, private toilets.
Pakistan was among those countries who achieved its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation with 64 percent of the population using improved sanitation facilities. Between 2000 and 2017, the number of people practicing open defecation reduced from 39 percent to 11 percent, access to improved sanitation increased from 35 percent to 73 percent. However, for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, which are adopted by theParliament of Pakistan in 2016, massive efforts are needed for the wellbeing and prosperity of every Pakistani.
According to official statistics Pakistan is among the five countries with the highest rate of diarrheal deaths with 200,000 children die every year with diarrheal disease alone. Water quality is one of the root causes of Pakistan’s poor health statistics. Every year around three million Pakistanis suffer from waterborne diseases, out of them 1.2 million are children. Pakistan loses 343 billion rupees to healthcare costs, which almost equals to 4% of the national GDP.
The participants actively interacted with the speakers, exchanged views, and expressed that during General Election 2013 there were limited commitments from most of thepolitical party within party manifestos and stressed that with growing population and widespread poverty the provision of safe drinking water, decent sanitation and hygiene awareness must be the top priority of the entire political leadership.