It was indeed lamentable hearing Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf emphatically announce on the floor of the National Assembly on Friday that Kalabagh Dam would not be built. Lamentable, because in the absence of as beneficial a project as this dam, the nation as a whole, including its opponents, stands deprived of its vital sustenance value. The Minister cites opposition of the provinces as an excuse for not taking it up for implementation, but he overlooks the findings of a countrywide referendum recently conducted by the Nawa-i-Waqt group that showed 99 percent popular endorsement of the project. The only possible conclusion of this exercise is that the people, who are the actual sufferers in our iniquitous socio-political system, bearing the brunt of the shortage of power, inadequacy of a regulated supply of water, mounting inflation and so on,do understand its importance and overwhelmingly support its construction. The leaders, on the other hand, who are resourceful enough to escape the rigours of these pressures, keep fighting among themselves to promote their own vested interests. Leaderships lack of sincerity and commitment to national causes of vital importance and their eagerness to achieve personal gains have been the bane of Pakistani society, virtually right from the start. And for that reason projects like Kalabagh Dam have been sacrificed at the altar of meaningless rivalries in which they have tried to whip up sentiments of ignorant sections of their provinces against it. Somehow, they fail to see the harrowing consequences of such petty machinations for the entire nation, as they succeed in stymieing these causes. The countrys interests especially in the face of Indias attempt at blocking the flow of water into Pakistan call for not only the construction of Kalabagh Dam but also other big reservoirs that could be of benefit. The proposed inauguration of the construction of Bhasha Dam by the Prime Minister next month, therefore, is a welcome sign and so is the indication that the government intends building Munda Dam that would help prevent the flooding of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in case of heavy rains in the upper reaches of rivers. But as stressed earlier, it would not reduce the imperative significance of Kalabagh, as outlined by Governor Salman Taseer (of PPP) and Admiral Iftikhar Ahmad Sirohey. A writ has also been filed in the Supreme Court, invoking its jurisdiction to order its execution. Whatever its outcome from the legal point of view, we firmly believe that the views of narrow-minded politicians should be set aside and the Nawa-i-Waqt referendum taken as a clear signal from the nation, which is what it is, and construction of the dam started. Any postponement pending a consensus would cost us dearly.