Pakistan has suffered immensely during the last couple of decades due to water and energy shortages. The situation was particularly terrible between 2008 and 2015, but the previous government was able largely bridge the gap. But because demand is always rising, this is a continuous process which must be met with new projects. A groundbreaking development has taken place on this front with the Imran Khan-led government’s announcement of commencing work on the Diamer-Bhasha dam. Pakistanis are deeply invested in the success of this project, not only because they have personally contributed billions for it, but also because the benefits are varied and immense, not to mention that the key concept behind this has been doing the rounds for years on end. The obvious facts have been outlined in the press release by the government.

The dam is also strategically important because of India’s unwarranted belligerence under the Hindu-supremacist Modi government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement saying that “blood and water cannot flow together” leaves no doubt about his government’s nefarious designs. In such a scenario, it is all the more critical for Pakistan to increase its water capacity, meet energy demands and create economic momentum to keep the country ready and strong to fight off any challenge thrown its way.

Undertaking projects of such a massive scale requires a great deal of planning and meticulous execution. Until recently, the biggest hurdle in the way of Diamer-Bhasha dam was lack of sufficient funds. It would be good if the government could share how it has been able to successfully secure the necessary funds. This would put to rest fears regarding timely completion of all works within the expected budget. That being said, this is a wonderful development and the federal government ought to be congratulated for it. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directions on starting other large-scale projects should also be followed. This will serve to stimulate the economy and help the crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic.