LAHORE – The Lahore High Court chief justice observed on Wednesday the federal government ought to play its role if the provinces had differences over the construction of Kala Bagh Dam (KBD).

As the court resumed the hearing on petitions about the issue of KBD construction, it was learnt that the federal government had not submitted its reply in view of the court’s earlier orders.

Upon this, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the KBD project was pending since 1952 and still no progress was made on it. He added it was the responsibility of the federal government to develop consensus among the provinces over the construction of the dam, as the country was under severe power shortfall.

The court directed the government to submit its reply on the next hearing on October 29.

The petitioners, former World Bank legal adviser Bashir A Malik and others, had requested the court that directions be issued to the government that the Council of Common Interests (CCI) be convened in accordance with the law to decide the issue of KBD project.

The CCI, Wapda and others had submitted their reports and replies. Only the federal government had not given its reply to queries raised by the court as well as the petitioners.

Earlier, the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) had said the objections made by the KPK and Sindh had been critically examined with the help of proper technical studies and that these were baseless.