Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Why Kalabagh Dam?


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

THE Kalabagh dam (KBD) is once again occupying pace in newspapers and TV channels thanks to the verdict of the Lahore High Court. Supporters are portraying the court verdict as a victory for law and justice. Bashir A Malik (Dec 8) and Engr. Pervez Bukhari (Dec 9) have given their views on these pages.

Mr Malik writes that “the current government had contravened the CCI decision of September 1991 by burying the project in May 2008”. But here he fails to mention the 1991 water accord.

While the accord remains buried, water is ‘distributed’ according to the so-called ‘historic usage’ when under the umbrella of Gen Ziaul Haq’s martial law Punjab took water from the Indus according to its wish between 1978 and 1983.

Mr Malik refers to the unanimous resolutions against the KBD by the assemblies of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and sees the approval by the CCI as sacrosanct. I would like to remind the writer that if the CCI is the creation of the constitution of Pakistan, then Pakistan itself was created by the resolution passed by the Sindh Assembly. So, what is more sacrosanct, the decision of the CCI or the resolution of the Sindh Assembly?

Mr Malik talks much about technicalities and labels MPAs passing the resolution as incapable of comprehending the same.

Technically speaking, Sindh has produced top-class engineers like Shaikh Manzoor Ahmed, Abdul Rasool Memon, Idrees Rajput and A.N.G. Abbassi. All of them repeatedly and at different forums proved with hard facts and that the KBD was neither feasible nor viable. If he is still not satisfied, he should then fall in agreement with the IUCN which has recommended that 27 maf water must flow downstream Kotri annually and at least 6,000 cusecs all the time.

Neither condition is fulfilled except when there are high floods like in 2010.

Similarly Engr Pervez Bukhari, while praising the Lahore High Court decision, says: “The Kalabagh Dam would provide 6.5 million acre feet of water to cultivate seven million acres of currently barren land.”

He must be knowing that if built, the KBD would render millions of acres of currently cultivated land in Sindh barren. About two million acres in the coastal districts of Thatta and Badin have already turned barren due to sea intrusion caused by the lack of enough water falling in the sea through the Indus. If accepted, this scenario leads one to believe that the much trumpeted ‘national interest’ is synonymous with the interest of Punjab.

Engr Bhukhari said further that “it is a serious matter for Pakistan’s existence, and the government should keep politicians away from this issue”. First, if politicians are such an anathema to Pakistan’s existence, what about Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was a politician and is credited with the existence of Pakistan?

The KBD is also a serious matter for the existence of Sindh and its civilisation. We know that this is one of the world’s four ancient civilisations and owes its existence to the Indus.

Pakistan is a multinational country and matters of life and death for nations are never decided by courts but by the will of the people because such matters carry the weight of history while courts follow only the law of the day. That is why the subcontinent’s great scholar and statesman Maulana Abul Kalam Azad said that “after battlefield, history’s biggest injustices have taken place in the court rooms”.


Comments (13) Closed

AMSX Dec 26, 2012 11:46am
I disagree with the writer. KBD should be built. If this dam was to built by British then we would have no exception to it. we are slaves to our selves and don't think about the future of our country. The writer talks about the one province and its needs Fine ! Let Punjab stop exporting wheat and other agriculture items to the other provinces ! Think again for the prosperity of the country.
Muhammad Dec 26, 2012 11:23am
In order to decide whether or not to build the Kalagagh Dam, you need a sound feasibility report by a sound and reputable consulting firm. It is not upto the politicians or the SC to decide this issue.
Maymar Bin Aziz Dec 26, 2012 04:19pm
Stop it .....let see what happens........!
khanm Dec 26, 2012 01:58pm
I agree with you. But unfortunately Pakistanis are not one nation they are divided in 5 different nations. Every one has their own agenda. The breaking of one unit was the biggest mistake.
sal Dec 26, 2012 01:51pm
The country needs power - has needed power for three decades now. Either build a dam or build coal plants now.
Reality Check Please? Dec 26, 2012 08:18am
There should be an Independant (perhaps international) commission to look at all the issues including technical and strategic as well as political and enviromental but with a view to putting this to bed....AND all parties must sign up to accepting its outcome! Otherwise, scrap this issue and look at alternative plns to manage our water and the future of this country!
observer Dec 26, 2012 08:21am
It is only about ego and irresponsible behavior of the most populous province of Pakistan that people are still talking about KBD. How many more decades will the nation take to forget about KBD and look at other projects.
observer Dec 26, 2012 11:49am
Personally, I think it is about time to stop talking about the dam at this location. Alternatives must be looked into before it is too late.
Adnan Dec 26, 2012 10:04pm
Let other provinces stop all oil n gas and KP stop all the water? Other provinces are forced to buy agri produce from punjab where subsidies bornre by other 3 provinces is heavily employed!
Pakistan Dec 26, 2012 11:01pm
We must set our priority now, whether we have to fulfill our energy requirements or we have to remain in the darkness. The barren lands of Sindh and Baluchistan can be cultivated by water management but how can we make up energy shortfall and loadshedding? The decision has to be taken.
GUL SAID Dec 27, 2012 06:49am
Ahmed Noor Dec 27, 2012 07:19am
Didn't Punjab put a ban on export of wheat to other provinces in 2008, keeping its own interests in mind. Where did the spirit of nationalism go then ?
TJK Dec 27, 2012 04:48pm
the dispute issue is that due to KBD more than 3 lakh people become disslocated , salinity and water logging in peshawer and nowshehra,