Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday said that while his initiative to collect funds to build the Diamer-Bhasha dam had garnered immense support in the country, it had also fallen victim to "opposition".
During his address to the Multan Bar Council, Justice Nisar implied that Thursday night's incident when about a dozen educational institutions were burned down by miscreants in Gilgit-Baltistan's Diamer district was an act of opposition to his initiative to collect funds for the dam.
"Diamer is such a peaceful place. I went to Gilgit-Baltistan a few days ago and was told by sessions judges and locals that it has been years since there has been a robbery or murder in the area," he told members of the Council. "But as soon as we started talking about building a dam [there], 12 educational institutions were torched."
"Who is conspiring against Pakistan? We should think about this. I don't want to level irresponsible allegations against anyone but I am leaving it as a matter of thought for you people. For the past 60 years, no dam has been built and now that we are trying to build one, there are conspiracies against it.
"But you people are the protectors; the people of Pakistan will get this implemented!" he said, amidst chants of "chief teray jaan nisar, beshumar beshumar!" [you have countless supporters, chief!] He urged people to participate and support the construction of dams.
"[Building] this dam is unavoidable now. It is vital for the survival of the country," he asserted, and urged people to "quash any conspiracy" that might hinder the construction of the dams.
He also clarified that the Supreme Court had not ruled out the Kalabagh Dam; instead, the court has said that it should be built after all provinces reach a consensus over it. He added that the dams that are free of controversy and are not being opposed by anyone will be built first.
Last month, the CJP had announced that the top court will not interfere in the controversial issue of Kalabagh dam and was exploring alternative options to overcome the water crisis. If there is no consensus among the provinces over the Kalabagh dam, other measures must be taken to tackle water scarcity, he had said.