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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has warned of strong “resistance” if the controversial Kalabagh dam project is revived, terming such a move an “utter disrespect” to parliament and the people of the country.

PPP Senator Sassui Palijo said in a statement here on Sunday that the provincial assemblies of three provinces had rejected Kalabagh dam and “whoever will support this rejected dam will face strong resistance”.

Take a look: CJP hints at charging dam opponents with treason

The statement was issued by the party apparently in reaction to the remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar at a ceremony in Lahore on Saturday in which he had said that only Kalabagh dam “guaranteed the survival and security of Pakistan”.

The CJP stated that they had not stopped pursuing the matter of Kalabagh dam’s construction.

“If the nation agrees then we will also build Kalabagh dam after the construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams,” the CJP had reportedly said at the ceremony.

However, the PPP senator said that talking about Kalabagh dam amounted “to rubbing salt on the wounds of the people of Sindh”.

Ms Palijo said the people of Sindh were faced with acute shortage of water and only 30 per cent of land could be cultivated this year. She said that because of lack of water downstream Kotri barrage, thousands of land in Thatta and Badin had been eaten by the sea water.

It may be recalled that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had even expressed his reservations over the proposed construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam.

Talking to media in Karachi last week, the Sindh chief minister had stated that he was not against the construction of Bhasha dam but had “some reservations” over its “location and availability of water in the system” in such a quantity that the dam could be filled.

In reply to a question about the Bhasha dam, he had said it (the dam site) lay in the seismic area and the quantity of water required to fill the dam was not available in the (Indus) system.

Mr Shah had said that the Bhasha dam project was originally initiated by the PPP government, but objections were raised on its technical issues. Therefore, he insisted, “the Centre needs to take the federating units on board” over such controversial projects.

The chief minister said that his government and party’s policy on construction of dams was very clear as the Sindh government was constructing 34 small dams and work on them had almost been completed while work on 16 other (small) dams was to begin soon.

In May, the then opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, had even warned that the people of Sindh might have to close the province’s border and cut it from the rest of the country if it would continue to be denied its due water share. Mr Shah is also opposed to the idea of building dams through donations.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2018