LAHORE – The courts have authority to interfere in the Kalabagh Dam (KBD) construction as the project is a national matter and it affects fundamental rights of people indirectly, the Lahore High Court Chief Justice observed on Thursday.

The chief justice expressed dissatisfaction over the federal government’s reply in a petition seeking directions to government to build KDB to overcome energy crisis.

The LHC chief justice pointed out that the federal government had not answered the questions on the dam and directed the centre to submit a comprehensive report to the court. As proceedings started, a deputy attorney general appeared before the court and furnished the federal government’s reply. He appealed to the court to dismiss the instant petition by declaring it non-maintainable because neither the petitioner was an affected person nor the petitioner had locus standi to file the case.

The chief justice remarked that it was a project of national importance and the court did have the power to intervene in it. He added that such an important issue was never raised or discussed in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) whereas Wapda had attached a great importance to the project.

The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that the railways minister had stated that if KBD was constructed, five districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa would be flooded whereas Wapda had claimed that these districts would be benefited from the dam.

The court adjourned hearing till September 13 and directed the federal government to come up with a detailed report.

Previously, the Water and Power Development Authority had submitted a report and termed baseless the objections and apprehensions of three provinces and informed the LHC that such reservations were based on lack of information.