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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday cautioned the detractors of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams initiative that the Supreme Court will take them to task.

This was an SC warning to those who were criticising the building of the two crucial dams, CJP Nisar observed while hearing a case pertaining to the Dadhocha dam construction in Rawalpindi.

Apparently, the observation came in the backdrop of criticism by Pakistan Peoples Party stalwart Syed Khursheed Shah who was quoted as saying that the issue of dams’ construction had been politicised so much that those who wanted to develop reservoirs should form their own political party.

Says fund’s name won’t be allowed to be changed

The CJP observed that those criticising or opposing the dams were pursuing the agenda of someone else, who wished to see no dams in the country. The dams’ construction was a matter of fundamental rights of citizens, as they were being built for future generations of the country, he said.

There would be no compromise on this issue, the chief justice cautioned, adding the court would not let the agenda of those who did not wish to see dams in the country succeed. “We will build dams under all circumstances,” said CJP Nisar.

Those who wanted to do politics, the CJP warned, should try it somewhere else.

While hearing another case regarding agro-farms in Islamabad, the CJP observed that the SC was the initiator of the fund for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams’ construction and guarantor of the entire scheme. He added that therefore no one else could capitalize on the name of the fund, which would not be allowed to be changed.

The CJP also recalled how a group of schoolchildren had donated Rs500,000 for the dams. A group of 100 students from the Army Burn Hall College for Boys, Abbottabad, had presented the cheque to the CJP during their visit to the Supreme Court Museum as part of their study tour, according to an announcement.

Referring to the Dadhocha dam’s construction, the apex court asked the Punjab government to come up with an alternative recommendation if it had objections to the DHA-Bahria joint venture or the suggestions given by the irrigation department.

The court also asked the Punjab government when the dam would be completed and how much expense would be incurred on its construction.

The irrigation secretary informed the court that the provincial government had allocated funds for the acquisition of land for the dam.

During the proceedings, the CJP also warned that it would not allow anyone to take kickbacks. The commission mafia should fear God, he said, observing that the dam project was under strain because of this commission mafia.

According to a study, the dam if built at the proposed site will have a storage capacity for supply of 35 million gallons per day water to the residents of Rawalpindi.

The feasibility study for the Dadhocha dam was approved during 2013-14 after which the irrigation department hired consultants for the purpose.

In 2002, a pre-feasibility study of site No 1 was carried out by the Small Dams Organisation which remained under the active consideration for the construction of the dam, a report stated, adding that a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 was issued on Nov 3, 2010 to secure the area required for the proposed project. The area is part of Kahuta, Kallar Syedan and Rawalpindi tehsils of Rawalpindi district.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2018