HYDERABAD: Sindh’s nationalist, national and religious parties have strongly reacted to Chief Justice of Pakistan’s assertion he will launch work on Kalabagh dam after having built Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams and warned Sindh’s people will never accept the controversial reservoir project.

In Hyderabad, Qaumi Awami Tehreek president Ayaz Latif Palijo said in a statement issued here that Kalabagh dam was a death warrant for the province hence it would never be accepted. No court, parliament or administrative authority had a right to destroy Sindh, he said.

He reiterated that people of Sindh through peaceful political struggle and prudent activism would not allow anyone to resurrect this project. Sindh had not accepted retired Gen Musharraf’s emergency-plus nor did they let Gen Zia succeed, he said.

He termed the Kalabagh dam project anti-Sindh and anti-Pakistan and said that before thinking about the construction of any dam or canal one must take into account the water theft on a massive scale over the past 150 years.

Mr Palijo said that if Pakistan’s parliamentary and judicial institutions wanted to serve justice to Sindh and Pakistan they should order closure of Chashma-Jhelum, Taunsa-Panjnad and Greater Thal canals and hold Indus River System Authority and Wapda accountable for the theft of Sindh’s share of water.

He said the controversial dam had been rejected by three assemblies and millions had protested against it. Courts should avoid taking decisions against freedom of speech as it was in conflict with law of the land and Constitution. People of Sindh had always stood for justice, he said.

Jeay Sindh Mahaz’s chief organiser Hashim Khoso and central leader Abdul Khaliq Junejo said in a joint statement that their party rejected the CJP’s statement. It was a judge’s responsibility to hear the two parties before delivering justice but when the judge himself became party in a case it would only lead to murder of justice, they said.

They reminded the CJP that the Sindh assembly that had passed resolution for Pakistan had rejected the dam project besides two other assemblies. They were ready to be punished for opposing the anti-Sindh project, he said.

Sindh National Party senior vice president Ramzan Buledi and others said in a joint statement that the CJP’s controversial decisions were creating resentment among Sindhi people who could not be subdued through coercion or intimidation.

They said the controversial dam would never be accepted as Sindh had already suffered a great deal because of it. No one would be allowed to render Sindh’s land barren by building dams on Indus, they said.

Local leader of Pakistan Peoples Party Hyderabad chapter Ahsan Abro said in a statement that dams were inevitable for the country but they could not be built without consensus.

He criticised the CJP’s warning of action against dams’ opponents under Article 6 and said that Diamer Bhasha dam was dream of PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and its foundation stone was also laid during a PPP government. PML-N government acquired land and allocations were also made for the dam.

The CJP had taken a good initiative to raise funds for dams which was supported by prime minister but they must remember that a dam could not be built with donations only, he said.

Jamaat-i-Islami Hyderabad chapter emir Hafiz Tahir Majeed said that projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and water reservoirs were necessary but only depending on donations for working on them would not be wise.

SUKKUR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro expressed reservations over construction of new dams and warned Kalabagh dam project was not acceptable to Sindhi people at any cost.

It was sad to hear the CJP, warning dam opponents with imposition of Article 6, said the Maulana while talking to a delegation of party leaders, according to a press release issued by JUI-F Jacobabad chapter on Sunday.

The Maulana said that he was surprised at the statement of such a high-profile personality who knew well about law and Constitution. Sea had swallowed in hundreds of thousands of acres in Thatta, Sujawal and Badin districts because no water was released downstream Kotri barrage, he said.

He cautioned that if Kalabagh dam was constructed on Indus it would be a conspiracy against Sindh and no one would accept it at any cost. There should be huge quantum of water available for big dams to get filled which was unavailable at the moment. Therefore, the government needed to construct small dams to store extra water after providing water to delta and tail-end areas, he said.

He said that Sindh was not getting water as per its quota in accordance with the water accord of 1991. Chashma-Jhelum link canal which was a flood canal had been turned into a perennial canal in violation of the accord.

He said that as per law of the land and Sharia Sindh which was located at the tail-end of the river had the right of water and it would not allow construction of new dams under any pressure.

BADIN: JSM chairman Riaz Ali Chandio has said that people of Sindh have rejected the construction of dam on Sindh’s waters and announced holding a rally on Oct 7.

He told reporters at Awan-i-Sahafat that it was not CJP’s job he should let the prime minister and political monitors to carry out their responsibilities.

He said the CJP should pay heed to cases of human rights violation and take action against those who violated the country’s Constitution by illegally building Greater Thal Canal. Action should be taken against those who had time and again created shortage of water, he said.

He said that people of Sindh were already facing shortage of water mostly in Badin, Sujawal and Thatta districts and were forced to migrate to other areas for livelihood.

He advised the CJP not to take advantage of his esteemed position and desist from talking on sensitive issues. The CJP had better resign from the post then campaign for the construction of dam, he said.

He said that he would meet PPP chairman and legislators and heads of other major political parties Pir Pagaro and others and ask them to join the struggle against the controversial dam and save Sindh.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2018