In his letter ‘Water issues’, Dr Yaqoob Bhatti has said that PM Junejo decided to stop construction of Kalabagh dam for no explainable reason. A noting in a file in the Punjab irrigation department reads that the project had to be put on the back burner because of controversy arising on the political front. This was when Benazir Bhutto had returned from self-exile and launched a campaign against General Zia. Subsequently, the Sindh assembly also passed a resolution against Kalabagh dam. With public opinion in the whole of Sindh and Punjab against the dam, no political party can support the creation of the dam without seriously damaging its vote bank. Some leaders have already said that it would be political suicide if they support the construction of the Kalabagh dam. 

Mangla and Tarbela dams have increased canal supplies in Sindh from 35.6 million acre feet (maf) to 44.5 maf, a 25% increase, with which Sindh was able to cultivate an additional 20 lakh acres. Kalabagh dam will also increase supply, not decrease it. The last increase in supply was made 40 years ago with the commissioning of Tarbela dam. 22.6 million acres of land is lying barren, most of it in Sindh. Karachi needs to more than double the 550 million gallons it is taking from Kotri barrage every day. 

It is for the intelligentsia and the media to join hands to remove the cobwebs of ignorance from the public mind. There is no other way. 


Lahore, December 8.