Indus Basin Treaty’s signatory: PF urges World Bank to push for construction of KBD
December 03, 2012
The Punjab Forum (PF) has called upon the World Bank to push construction of Kalabagh dam on river Indus as a signatory of Indus Water Treaty 1960 under which Pakistan’s three rivers, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas were given to India on condition that Pakistan would build reservoirs for providing alternate water releases to the irrigation canals emanating from these rivers for watering crops in south Punjab.
It appreciated the recent decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) wherein it had ordered the federal government to construct Kalabagh dam (KBD) terming it in the best interest of country and generations to come as delay is threatening survival of the whole population of the country. The KBD can be renamed as Federation Dam, said Baig Raj, President of the Punjab Forum. If name of a province can be renamed, the name of a dam critical for national survival can also be renamed, he noted.
Speaking at a meeting to review current situation, he expressed disappointment over the statements of federal ministers against the LHC decision which indicate that the federal government is too much focused on politics and it will never abide by the decision though World Bank is more than willing to finance this multi-purpose and economically viable project.
Baig Raj said that Parliament had no respect for human rights which is contrary to their claims; adding that political parties which are against the KBD will lose public support in the upcoming elections in certain critical constituencies. South Punjab needs KBD more than the Central Punjab, he added.
He said that time has come when provincial governments and so-called nationalists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh should realise that nothing can save them from remaining vulnerable to floods and becoming a desert if KBD is not built.
A referendum in the two provinces can expose the claims of nationalists, he said. Baig Raj said that water experts and the patriotic economists need to educate masses on the pros and cons of KBD mired in intense political controversy since decades, remove the cobwebs of ignorance, and save 200 million people from the hunger, thirst and poverty.
The federal government is constitutionally bound to start the project in the light of the Council of Common Interests decisions taken in 1991 and 1998; he said adding that the so called lack of consensus on KBD amounts to playing with the future of Pakistan. The politicians and ‘pseudo-intellectuals’ who are opposing the dam are doing a great disservice to Pakistan and its people irrespective of where they live or to which province they belong, he observed.
Baig Raj said that anti-Pakistan lobbies have deliberately converted a purely technical and humanitarian issue into a political problem to harm the country. He alleged that the PPP governments’ is deliberately avoiding water sector development under political pressure which will eventually destroy the federation, he warned.
He said that USAID has been claiming to help Pakistan overcome energy crisis, they should try to influence ANP for the construction of KBD. He lauded Pakistan Saraiki Party for supporting KBD.