LAHORE, July 17: The Lahore High Court chief justice on Tuesday directed the federal government to present objections raised by different political parties on the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) project.

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial issued the order on a petition seeking directions for the government to build consensus on the construction of the dam.

Earlier, a deputy attorney general told the court that the KBD project was envisaged during the regime of the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. However, he said, work could not be started owing to reservations by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The law officer also sought time to file a detailed reply on behalf of the federal government.

The CJ adjourned further hearing till Aug 27 and directed the government to submit the objections raised by political forces on the project.

Advocate Syed Feroze Shah Gillani filed the petition and stated that former caretaker chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Wapda ex-chairman, Shamsul Mulk, in a statement had said that KBD was not an issue of Punjab alone but a matter of the country’s survival that was at stake due to fast depleting water resources.

The petitioner said the KP suffered the most due to delay in construction of the Kalabagh Dam as even after completion of Bhasha Dam the province would continue to be deprived of additional water because it would be 50 feet below D.I Khan where 800,000 acres of available agricultural land could not be irrigated economically.

Advocate Gillani stated if KBD was built water would be available for vast area of land in the KP at affordable price.

He said the government should ask the Council of Common Interests to remove differences and problems among the provinces and the provinces and federation.

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