After remaining in limbo for decades, Pakistan has finally begun construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam. The Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan while kicking off “the mega construction at Diamer Bhasha dam” highlighted the many benefits that the country would accrue from it. Pakistan needed this dam sorely given our ever-increasing energy consumption. The environmental benefits of the dam are numerous—clean energy and irrigation of vast tracts of lands, to name a few. With the capacity of producing 4500 megawatts of affordable and clean electricity and irrigating some 1.2 million acres of area, the dam will be the third-largest water reservoir in the country.

The government deserves credit for taking initiatives that are providing jobs and taking Pakistan on the path to progress. As per the government’s estimates, the project will create around 16,0000 jobs. Given the situation of the global economy that the pandemic has brought to a standstill, opening up avenues for greater employment is even more praiseworthy under the circumstances. In short, the dam can prove a considerable stimulus for Pakistan’s economy given the project is a multi-purpose one.

Nevertheless, constructing dams is not an easy task. We have had difficult experiences in the past while erecting such massive projects. We have India’s example where big dams wreaked havoc in people’s lives. The government must not repeat such blunders. PTI must also understand that this mega-structure will determine its political future. If the government shows significant progress on the project, the chances of maintaining the treasury benches will increase. Otherwise, this project, coupled with the Peshawar metro, can make things even more difficult for the incumbent government and the public as well. Things related to the dam could go smoothly if the government adheres to the deadlines and ensures quality standards are maintained.