ISLAMABAD, Jan 20: President Pervez Musharraf on Friday asked the ruling coalition in Sindh to reciprocate his announcement on dams and mould public opinion in favour of the Kalabagh dam.
During a meeting with leading members of the Sindh ruling party at his Rawalpindi camp office on Friday, he sought feedback on his “Water Vision” and their support and cooperation in this direction.
Chief Minister Sindh Dr Arbab Rahim, federal Minister for Water and Power Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Chairman Senate Mohammadmian Soomro, Minister for Local Government Justice Razak Taheem, Sindh Irrigation Minister Nadir Akmal Leghari, Imtiaz Sheikh and Ali Bakhsh Shah attended the meeting.
A participant of the meeting told Dawn that the president said he respected their views and public opinion in Sindhi by announcing construction of Bhasha and Munda dams on priority instead of the Kalabagh dam.
However, he said, major dams would have to be built in the larger national interest and Sindh’s representatives should play their role in shaping public opinion in favour of large dams, including the Kalabagh dam.
“We have respected your opinion. Now it is time for you to reciprocate,” he quoted the president as saying. The president informed them that he would again visit Sindh to convince the people in this respect, he said.
Almost all participants, he said, praised and supported President Musharraf’s ‘Water Vision’. They thanked him for respecting the will of the people of Sindh. They told the president the people of Sindh
had welcomed his announcement about Bhasha and Munda dams.
They also requested the president to devise a package of confidence-building measures, including guarantees for protection of Sindh’s water rights.
Sources said the president also discussed the political situation in Sindh and stressed the need for taking decisions in consultation with allies. They said the question of the National Finance Commission award did not come up for discussion during the meeting.