PESHAWAR: Declaring construction of Kalabagh dam ‘very dangerous’ for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Jamaat-i-Islami on Thursday asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to categorically announce the abandoning of the controversial project.

On Wednesday, the Awami National Party had criticised the federal government, particularly Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for ‘changing’ stand on Kalabagh dam and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

JI provincial chief Professor Mohammad Ibrahim told a news conference at the Al-Markaz-i-Islami here that the federal government should follow the decisions of All-Party Conference and build eastern route of the CPEC in first phase.

He said political forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had serious reservations about Kalabagh dam and CPEC.

Professor Ibrahim said ‘hypocritical policies’ of the federal government would force the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to protest.

He said the constitutional rights of all federating units should be protected otherwise it would harm the federation.

“The federal government will be responsible for the fallout of such policies,” he said, adding that recent statements of federal ministers Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal in favour of Kalabagh dam and CPEC eastern route were inappropriate.

Professor Ibrahim said technically, Kalabagh dam was not feasible and that policymakers should not forget devastating flash floods in 2010 that played havoc across KP, especially Peshawar valley.

He said major portion of Peshawar valley had submerged in floodwaters though Kalabagh dam didn’t exist.

The JI leader said the building of Kalabagh dam had nothing to do with floods and four districts, including Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera and Swabi, would go under water if the controversial water reservoir was built.

He said the Kabul River and its affiliated tributaries could not sustain medium level floods.

“The prime minister should publicly announce abandoning the Kalabagh dam project,” he said while asking Nawaz Sharif to stop his ministers from issuing controversial statements on any national issue.

Professor Ibrahim said the federal government had pointed out loadshedding as the prime reason for construction of Kalabagh dam.

He said KP had potential to generate around 50,000MW hydel electricity and therefore, the federal government should cooperate with the provincial government.

The JI leader said several feasibility reports had been completed for hydel power generation.

He said currently, construction of two hydel generation projects was underway in Chitral and Kohistan.

Professor Ibrahim said like KP and Balochistan, construction of western route of the CPEC would also facilitate China and that feasibility study was also completed but policymakers were insisting on construction of the eastern route.

He said such policies generated disharmony and sense of deprivation among smaller units of the federation.

The JI leader said Islam, democracy and federation were three basic principles of the Constitution and that JI won’t allow any party or power to change them.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2015

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