At the time of independence, our newly formed country had no infrastructure of power generation. There were only small diesel or coal powered generation plants in various cities, but to meet the major requirement we were dependent on India. In 1958 when Field Marshall Ayub Khan took over the Government, with all the other important steps, shortage of power was also taken as a very important issue.

We are blessed with many natural resources, especially water. We have five rivers and number of subsidiaries which can give us sufficient power as well as huge water reservoirs for irrigation, if properly planned.

A study was carried out for the river Indus, according to which it was clear that hydro power projects could only be constructed on river Indus. Following this study, two sites on river Indus were selected for dams. One site was Kalabagh, which was a natural dam and the other was Tarbela. On river Jehlum, Mangla was selected for immediate implementation.

On the other side, Tarbela was preferred on Kalabagh. There were two reasons; one, the cost of Tarbela Dam was higher than the Kalabagh Dam, and financial help from the World Bank was required, whereas the cost of Kalabagh was less and could easily be met by our own resources. The second reason was political disturbance created by Raja George Sikandar Zaman who was in opposition of Ayub Khan and had a high influence in Haripur, where some land was to be acquired by the government. It was decided that as Ayub Khan being in power, the people of the area will cooperate, but later on when Ayub Khan may not be in power, this man having high influence in the area may be a hindrance in the construction of this dam, as well as Khanpur Dam (Only a reservoir dam), which was also constructed during that time.

So, work on Tarbela and Mangla Dam was immediately started. Mangla was to generate 1100 megawatts with a water reservoir of 5.5 million acre feet and Tarbela was planned to produce 3490 megawatts electricity with a water reservoir of 11.09 million acre feet.

From Kalabagh reservoir, water can not only be used for generation of electricity but can also be utilised to irrigate the barren areas of KPK, Sindh and Balochistan. The site of Kalabagh is a natural dam, which can be constructed in much less time with less cost than a regular dam. It can store and preserve all that water flowing from rivers Indus, Swat and Kabul, which at present is going waste and falls into the Arabian sea. The length of Kalabagh dam reservoir will be 80 km. From there the Nowshera city is 110 km away, and if the dam is full to its ends, the height of Nowshera will be 60 feet above that level. So, the story which has been framed by a political party of KPK, that Nowshera will be drowned, does not have any truth to it. However, 800,000 acres barren land will be irrigated with the increase in the level of the river. This area is 100-150 feet above river level, when the level of the river is raised, it would be easily irrigated.

The same way, around 1,000,000 acres of land of Sindh will also be irrigated from the water reservoir of Kalabagh-Dam. The politicians and Feudal lords of Sindh also have framed a story for their poor and uneducated people that if Kalabagh Dam is constructed, river Indus will have no water in flow and sea water will enter inside the river bed, damaging the lands. This is just a story to confuse the poor farmers and small land owners, so that they don’t get benefit of water for their fields, which can result them a better living and educating their children.

In addition to irrigation, Kalabagh Dam would also generate 3600 megawatts of electricity, which when added to the national grid will bring down the electricity cost. Delay in the construction of this dam is criminal on part of the rulers, politicians and leaders, because it is their utmost duty to look after national interest.

It is very important to note that Basha Dam is no substitute for Kalabagh Dam, not because of its altitude, which is high enough, but because no irrigation canals can be taken out from it because of the hilly terrain.