ONE of the important test cases for the coming Pakistan Muslim League-N government would be bringing to life the Kalabagh Dam which was buried during the sterile tenure of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The PPP’s Raja Pervez Ashraf took pride in burying the Kalabagh Dam. Now it is for Nawaz Sharif to revive it to implement the objectives of his historic Water Accord in 1991.
In that accord, shares for water were fixed for all the provinces in future storages by sacrificing share of Punjab to equate with Sindh at 37 per cent each, though Punjab has 73 per cent of the irrigated crop area and Sindh has only 15 per cent.
The Water Accord could not be implemented in the absence of a future water storage and instead future shortages of water were shared on the same formula of a future water storage.
The result was thermal power units started by late Benazir Bhutto and continued by the People’s Party government that have been the bane of Pakistan, resulting in massive daily loadshedding of 12 to 16 hours.
Now if Nawaz Sharif is able to build the Kalabagh Dam by ensuring consensus on a vital project, he will prove his mettle of statesmanship.
It is now his choice as to what kind of legacy he will leave for Pakistan. Please remember the $7billion yearly import of fuel for operating costly thermal power units has destroyed the economy of Pakistan with a Rs700 billion circular debt strangulating Pakistan like a vice.
The nation expects a Herculean effort by Nawaz Sharif to revive the Kalabagh Dam which is the best option at the time with all other options of water and power development being only a gleam in the eye at present.
DR M. YAQOOB BHATTI Lahore