Economics & Business

New controversy on Kala Bagh Dam

Pakistan Muslim League Quaid leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said Wednesday that Kalabagh dam was lifeline of Pakistan that would never be allowed to be shelved. While addressing a rally in Attock, PML-Q leader said that any attempt to end the Local Bodies System would not be tolerated. He said people witnessed that promises made by the government during elections were not fulfilled.

While politicians in Sindh and leaders of parties based in the NWFP welcomed the announcement made by Minister of Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf that the Kalabagh dam project had been shelved for good, the PPP-led federal government’s decision has stirred a severe reaction in Punjab.

Awami National Party’s president Asfandyar Wali Khan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain and Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri were among those who hailed the announcement as a step to strengthen the federation, but farmers’ bodies in Punjab and several political parties described it as an ‘anti-federation move’.

The Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf took out separate processions in Lahore and some other cities and towns of Punjab in protest against the minister’s statement.

But, the MQM chief, in a statement issued from London, said the Kalabagh dam was a controversial project which had created differences among the federating units. “Such decisions prove that the government is not wasting time and money on non-issues and concentrating on developmental projects keeping in view the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.”

Shelving KBD saves Pakistan: Bhurt
Lauding the government’s decision of shelving Kalabagh Dam (KBD) project, Sindh minister for Livestock Abdul Haq Bhurt said the decision has secured Pakistan as KBD was bone of contention among the provinces. The controversial KBD project was menace to national cohesion, integrity of country and unity of the federating units, he said in an interview. The three provinces out of the four had rejected the KBD project so the move will lead toward restoration of credibility of the centre and political stability by enhancing inter-provincial cooperation, coordination and interaction.

PPP is the symbol of unity of federation and the said big step of PPP government has proved that PPP values the public opinion and the will of the masses. PPP attaches great importance to the issues of smaller provinces, Abdul Haq Bhurt said, PPP has fulfilled the promise made to the nation in supreme interest of the country. Shaheed PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto was also against the KBD and she had staged a sit-in at Kamo Shaheed, Ubaro on August 10, 1998 in token protest against the same project.

The Kalabagh dam is a mega water reservoir that the Government of Pakistan is planning to develop across the Indus River, one of the world’s largest rivers. The proposed site for the dam is situated at Kalabagh in Mianwali District of the north-west Punjab province, bordering the North-West Frontier Province. The dam project is a highly controversial and has been so since its inception. In December 2005, General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, announced that he would definitely build the dam in the larger interest of Pakistan. In May 26, 2008, Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan. Raja Pervez Ashraf. has said that Kalabagh Dam will not be constructed. He said due to opposition from NWFP, Sindh and other stakeholders, the project is no more feasible.
all four provinces have their reservations on kala Bagh dam.

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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