PPP lawmaker Aijaz Jhakrani has said that PPP will never allow Kalabagh dam (KBD) to be built, but will not hinder the construction of Bhasha dam (BD). Does he know smoothing that the rest of the nation does not? What is so wrong with building KBD, which is not wrong with BD? If KBD will reduce the flow in the Indus, as is wrongly feared, why will BD not do the same? If KBD will decrease the supply of water to Sindh as is wrongly feared, why will BD not do the same? If KBD will have an adverse environmental impact on the Indus delta, as is wrongly feared, why will BD not have the same? So many questions and no answers!

Apparently the only difference is that KBD is in Punjab and BD is not. Does Mr Jhaakrani think that Punjab will take too much water from KBD merely because the dam is in Punjab? Is AJK taking too much water from Mangla dam because the dam is in AJK? Is KPK taking too much power from Tarbela dam because the dam is in KPK? No.Does he not know that dams are federally administered? Wapda transmits power from the dams even to the remote parts of the country. It is IRSA which decides how much water each province gets and when. Does he know that Sindh has three votes in IRSA against one vote for Punjab? The Sindh representative is obviously Sindhi, but the federal representative is also from Sindh, and the Balochistan representative openly votes with Sindh because Balochistan gets its water from Sindh. It is because of the politicised views of people like Mr Jhakrani that the country is losing out on the immense benefits that it could have reaped from KBD.

Pakistan badly needs power and water from both these dams and the sensible thing is to build the smaller, much easier and less costly Kalabagh dam first, and then Bhasha dam. The World Bank wanted to build Kalabagh dam even before Tarbela dam but ten engineers from Wapda, including B. A. Malik, the author of ‘Save Water Save Pakistan’, convinced the government and the World Bank to build the much bigger and more costly Tarbela dam first.


Lahore, June 12.