Pakistan’s rivers: construction of dams by India: government asked to raise issue at international forums

December 18, 2013

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DAMS
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The members of the National Assembly urged the government to take serious steps to raise the issue of construction of dams by India on the rivers of Pakistan at international forums to resolve it on immediate basis. They said that the construction of dams by India on Pakistan’s rivers would create serious water shortage in future.

They said that it would be very difficult for the country to cope with the issue in future if serious steps were not taken with regard to construction of water reservoirs. They urged the government to take solid steps and expedite its efforts for construction of small and big dams to overcome shortage of water and power and to boost agriculture sector.

Controversy hit the House when some members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the construction of Kalabagh Dam was essential for power generation and cultivation. However, Minister for States and Frontier Regions, Abdul Qadir Baloch, cooled down the atmosphere of the House by clarifying that his government would not undertake any project which impinges on the national solidarity.

The Minister said that the government would not construct any water reservoir without evolving national consensus. He said that statements of some members should not be construed as the party policy. He said the government’s stance was very clear on the issue and an individual’s statement should not be considered as the policy of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

He admitted that differences exist on Kalabagh Dam and his leadership was one hundred percent clear that the project would not be touched as long as complete consensus was not evolved on it. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said small provinces and the PPP were not against the construction of dams, as the previous government initiated work on Diamer Bhasha Dam, Dasu Dam, besides announcing Bunji Dam project and had allocated huge funds for this purpose.

He‚ however‚ said that Kalabagh Dam was a controversial subject and such issues should not be raised which could harm the federation. He said that Nawaz Sharif categorically stated that any dam will not be constructed by the government without consensus of the provinces.

The mover of the resolution in the House on the issue of construction of Dams by India on the water of Pakistan, Belum Hasnain of PPP said that the government should take serious steps for stopping construction of dams by India on Pakistan’s rivers. She said that effective measures should be taken to avoid water shortage. Without water the country’s economy would be destroyed, she said and added that India was violating Indus Water Treaty by constructing dams on Pakistan’s waters and the government should take up the matter at the level of United Nations.

Shafqat Mehmood of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said a special national conference should be convened for resolving disputes with India. He said that the issue of water with India was not separate from the issues of Kashmir and Siachen. The issue of water should be placed at the top of the list for negotiation with India.

PPP’s Shazia Marri said half of the country had already rejected the construction of Kalabagh Dam. The government should ensure equitable water distribution among provinces. Aisha Gulailai expressed apprehensions about the reported import of electricity from India. She said that the stance of Pakistan on water issue would weaken if we import electricity from India.

Ayaz Soomro said that Kalabagh Dam should not be built without national consensus. He said that three provinces had passed resolutions against Kalabagh Dam. Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Sheheryar Afridi, Usman Khan Tarakai, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Tahira Aurangzeb said India condemned India for constructing dams on Pakistan’s rivers was conspiring against Pakistan by constructing various dams on vital water tributaries. India had so far constructed 52 dams. She said that Kalabagh Dam must be constructed with the consent of provinces.

Courtesy Business Recorder

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