CHARSADDA/NOWSHERA: Awami National Party central president Asfandyar Wali Khan has urged PTI chief Imran Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to concentrate on construction of Bhasha dam instead of wasting time on controversial issue like Kalabagh Dam.

Talking to a group of journalists in Charsadda on Sunday, he threatened to resist construction of Kalabagh Dam at any cost. “Neither Pervez Khattak nor Nawaz Sharif can dare to lay a single stone on it,” he added.

The ANP chief said that the three small provinces — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan — had opposed the controversial project and even passed resolutions against construction of Kalabagh Dam from their provincial assemblies.

He said that recent remarks of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak regarding construction of Kalabagh Dam showed that he was serving the cause of Punjab instead of protecting the rights of Pakhtuns, who had voted his party into power. He termed Pervez Khattak a stooge of Bani Gala and said that his desire to serve the interests of Punjab would never be fulfilled. The issue was buried forever, he said. He called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to touch the controversial issue.

The ANP chief said that Imran Khan was not interested in protecting the rights of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rather he wanted to reach Takht-i-Islamabad at the cost of Pakhtuns, who gave him respect and brought his party into power in the province.

Accuses Pervez Khattak of serving interests of Punjab

Mr Khan said that lands and properties of the main leaders of PTI were situated in Punjab. They wanted to irrigate their barren lands in Punjab at the cost of sinking Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Charsadda and other areas in the Indus River, he added.

He said PTI was not sincere with Pakhtuns. He hoped that PTI leadership would no more deceive Pakhtuns with the hallow slogan of change. He said that Bhasha dam was a feasible project, which would produce thousands of megawatts of electricity on daily bases after its construction.

To a question, Mr Khan said that ANP would devise its future line of action regarding Kalabagh Dam in a meeting of party’s provincial executive council soon. He said that ANP leaders were ready to render any sacrifice for the protection of the rights of Pakhtuns.

In Nowshera, the workers and local leaders of Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party staged separate demonstrations on Sunday against the recent remarks of Chief Minister Pervez Khattak regarding Kalabagh Dam.

The rally of PPP was led by its provincial information secretary Laiquat Shabab. It was also attended by PPP district president Mian Yahya Shah Kakakhel, district general secretary Ghulam Hazrat, Ajmal Shah and a large number of party workers.

The protest of ANP with its district president Malik Jumma Khan in the chair was held at the hujra of district councillor Mohammad Ayaz Khan. It was attended by ANP district general secretary Khushal Khan, former nazim Ijaz Khan, Malik Aftab Khan and other party leaders.

Malik Juma Khan said on the occasion that they were not ready to accept any proposed commission as advised by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. “Pervez Khattak should represent the people from where he has been elected. He should not play like agent of Punjab,” he said.  

He alleged that Pervez Khattak had extended support to the then president Pervez Musharraf regarding Kalabagh Dam and brought him to Nowshera in that connection. However, he said, the people rejected the proposal.

Juma Khan alleged that Imran Khan was working for Jewish lobby and didn’t care for the problems prevailing at grassroots level.   

PPP leader Mr Shabab in his address condemned the statement of Pervez Khattak and said that no one could dare to construct the controversial Kalabagh Dam as it was opposed by three provincial assemblies.

He said that Imran Khan was trying to gain sympathies of the people of Punjab before the by-election in Lahore by showing them that his provincial government was ready to consideration construction of Kalabagh Dam.

Mr Shabab said that he had opposed Kalabagh Dam even in 1985. He alleged that Imran Khan and Pervez Khattak were masters of ‘U turn’. “The PTI government has done nothing so far in Khyberr Pakhtunkhwa and has no right to oppose development projects of Punjab government like metro bus,” he added.

Published in Dawn, October 12th , 2015

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