There has been an article in a section of the press titled ‘WB trying to make Bhasha dam controversial’. The former chairman of WAPDA, Mr. Shakeel Durrani, presently working as advisor with the ministry of Water and Power, has criticised the views of World Bank on Bhasha dam, as if we are the financiers and World Bank is asking for the loan! It appears as if the beggars want to become choosers now, something everyone knows does not happen!
Mr Shakeel Durrani is a protégé of Awami National Party (ANP) and is an ex-civil servant who was catapulted to the position of Chairman WAPDA by a Dictator in his time. In his previous office hangs a photograph of first ground breaking ceremony of Bhasha dam in 2006. Seven years have elapsed since then and we are waiting for 15 milion US$ for ‘Due Diligence studies’ of the dam, while the Dam cost would run into 12-14 billion $. We should not forget that World Bank, which funded the feasibility studies of Kalabagh dam, is the long arm of USA. How can Mr Durrani go against the wishes of World Bank and get funds from so called ‘Friends of Democratic Pakistari’ on his own? It was better for Mr. Durrani to call it quits, as during his tenure as Chairman WAPDA, he could not make a headway for Bhasha dam. He should have opted for Kalabagh dam for which World Bank was keen from the beginning, as it lies pat in Pakistan’s non disputed territory and which is one of the best cites for a dam in the world. The best option of Kalabagh dam ought to be pushed by Mr Durrani if he is honest in achieving this project.
Following unproductive Bhasha dam would not lead us anywhere it is like going on a wild goose chase. The nation can’t wait for another 10-12 years, to realise the dream of Bhasha dam while Kalabagh dam can deliver us out of the dark ages in 5 to 6 years at a cost of about 6 billion US.$.
DR M  YAQOOB BHATTI,
Lahore, June 5.