‘Kalabagh Dam and court decision’
THIS is apropos of Bashir A. Malik’s letter ‘Kalabagh Dam and court decision’ (Dec 8). I fully endorse the views expressed by the writer who has been associated with such projects since 1956.
There is absolutely no doubt that building the Kalabagh Dam is the surest and quickest way of resolving our power and irrigation issues. The problem is that despite recommendations by the Council of Common Interests in 1991 and again in 1998 the project has been shelved because of political disagreement and unfounded apprehensions of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Most of the apprehensions by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that certain areas will come under water and Sindh’s claim that Punjab will utilise most of the water for irrigation and deprive it of its due share are not based on solid calculations.
The issue has become a political slogan and a test of the loyalty of politicians of their respective provinces. Even if they want to support the project in the greater interest of the nation, they cannot do it because it will be a political suicide. No wonder the provincial legislatures have passed resolutions without examining all aspects of the project threadbare.
Shamsul Mulk, who himself belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, and is another expert engineer who had been head of Wapda and is considered an authority, supports the project and argues that apprehensions of Pakhtuns are exaggerated.
The trouble is that the Kalabagh Dam cannot be built unless a consensus is reached. Even military rulers Gen Pervez Musharraf and Gen Ziaul Haq could not initiate action on this because they did not want to touch the hornet’s nest.
The issue can only be resolved if a consensus is reached through educating politicians on the advantages of building the Kalabagh Dam and explaining them how imperative it is for the country to solve perennial problems of power and water shortages.
The unfounded apprehensions have to be removed. If the provinces do not like the name of the dam, it can be renamed Pakistan Dam or Quad-i-Azam Dam to express national harmony.
THIS is apropos of the letter ‘Kalabagh Dam and court decision’ (Dec 8). The writer has rightly proclaimed that none of the assemblies in question called for any briefing by competent engineers before passing resolutions opposing the construction of the dam.
There will be no loss to these three provinces because of the Kalabagh Dam. Instead, it will only put their longstanding stance down. So, the think-tanks of three provinces — Sindh, Khyber Pathunkhwa and Balochistan — should come forward to let them know their public and members of parliament that this dam will not deprive them of their water share.
The construction of this dam will benefit Pakistan. Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were ravaged by two floods in the last two years. The dam will save these two provinces from floods in the future.
I also agree with the writer that the name of Kalabagh Dam should be changed to Pakistan Dam.