Kalabagh Dam unacceptable, says Asfandyar
PESHAWAR, Dec 8: Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan has vehemently criticised the Lahore High Court verdict on construction of Kalabagh Dam and urged institutions, including the judiciary, to stay away from indulging in controversial issues.
“I categorically say that construction of Kalabagh Dam is not acceptable to us even if the Supreme Court gives decision in its favour,” he said on Saturday while addressing emotionally-charged workers here at Nishtar Hall, in the first major show against the LHC’s remarks on the dam.
The LHC had ordered the federal government to act upon decision of the Council of Common Interests and build the dam on Indus River forthwith.
Workers chanting slogans against the controversial project and waving black flags, expressed support to their leader in the campaign against the dam project.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti and ANP’s provincial chief Senator Afrasiab Khattak also spoke on the occasion. Ministers, parliamentarians and party leaders also attended the public meeting amid tight security.
The ANP has launched aggressive anti-Kalabagh campaign in the wake of the court’s decision. Banners inscribed with anti-dam slogans have been displayed on both sides of the Grand Trunk Road.
Commenting on the LHC orders, Asfandyar Wali Khan said that the verdict of an institution on controversial issue had no importance for him, but it had made doubtful its own position. He asserted that the LHC decision would be unacceptable to them even if the Supreme Court upheld it.
“We don’t care whether the Supreme Court takes suo motu notice or not,” he said, adding that he would not allow anyone to let drown his children by constructing the reservoir on the Indus River.
The ANP president said that this was not happening for the first time that a judge in Punjab had given a decision in support of the dam. He said that many people, including dictators, had gone taking away with them their aspiration for construction of Kalabagh Dam. The dam, which had already been rejected by three provincial assemblies, would bring in its wake destruction for the people of the country, he said.
He said that it was not possible for him to fritter away sacrifices of three generations by making compromise on Kalabagh, because Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had also rejected this project. He cautioned party workers not to ignore the orders of the LHC and take it seriously.
Mr Khan said that he acknowledged the role of Punjab and regarded it as a “big brother”, but it should not think to become “commander” of the federation. He said that such behaviour would not find any takers in smaller units of the federation.
Regarding ANP’s strategy for forthcoming general election, he indirectly criticised statements of some leaders of Pakistan People’s Party concerning alliance with the ANP and said that his party’s doors remained open for forging electoral alliances with other parties, but would not entreat others for making electoral alliance. He maintained that the ANP could fight elections alone.
The chief minister said that Kalabagh project was meant to destroy Pakhtun nation and appealed to all stakeholders to bury this “dead horse.” He said that without waiting for the next CCI meeting he was rejecting this project.
“I will not wait for the CCI meeting and reject it,” he said.
Afrasiab Khattak said that the coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa showed a remarkable performance in social sector. He said that it had major achievements to its credit during past four and a half years.