The assertion of Awami National Party (ANP) leader Asfandyar Wali at a rally in Peshawar on Thursday, is nothing short of a confessional statement for a crime committed against the state of Pakistan. In his speech he said that he had buried the Kalabagh Dam and only a miracle could revive it.

In this crime, his accomplice is none other than former Federal Water and Power Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who declared the Kalabagh Dam project as undoable, the credit for which goes to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. As far as ANP is concerned, it has a long history of affiliation with India. Under successive regimes, India has now unleashed water terrorism against Pakistan, by depriving it of its share of water from the three main rivers as provided by the Indus Waters Treaty. Similarly, some self-proclaimed nationalist leaders from Sindh have been opposing building of Kalabagh Dam on nothing more than flimsy grounds. Initially, this project of national importance was opposed by the former frontier province that found fault with the height of the Dam, which was redesigned and their objection was removed. Sindh wanted an uninterrupted flow of water downstream Kotri Barrage, which was also ensured. Despite this, they did not give up their opposition to this gigantic scheme which was declared the best project by nearly half a dozen international organisations, possessing high level of expertise in dam building. Not only this, the World Bank and other international financial institutions expressed their willingness to provide funding. Today, we are an energy-starved nation and with every hour our industry is being crippled, and we are desperately exploring external resources to bridge the supply and demand gap to meet our national requirement. This is a dismal situation and cannot be ignored. Had this dam been built, according to its schedule, Pakistan would not have been facing such a scenario.

In early 1990s, the four chief ministers of the federating units had arrived at a consensus and a document was signed however vested interests jeopardised it once again. There is desperate need to undertake consensus building work on Kalabagh Dam because we are running short of options. We must act and supress domestic vested interests in favour of the greater national interest.